Theatre Review: Our House @ The Churchill Theatre
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After premiering in 2002 and winning an Oliver award for best new musical; culture vultures can rejoice as the music of Madness helps to tell the tale of a ‘troubled’ lad in the bands old stomping ground of Camden; in a marvellous remake. (photo by Adam Trigg) With a ‘Sliding Doors’ effect, the story splits into two different path ways for 16-year-old Joe Casey (Jason Kajdi) after he trespasses on a development site with innocent girlfriend Sarah(Sophie Matthew). As the story divides deeper Jason Kajdi’s costume changes become more recurrent as he jumps between two contrasted, versions of himself amazingly quick and without any exertion. Britain’s Got Talent winner George Sampson is all grown up and still spinning on his head; along with some pretty cool vocals. Dancing in his Dr Martins and braces, he plays cheeky rogue Reecey, Joe’s bad influencer - convincing him to take the bad path in life. Embedding joy and emotion; director James Tobias wittingly refines Tim Firth’s book and creates a huge slice of feel-good. The choreography, by Fabian Aloise, encapsulates the traditional moves associated with particular Madness tracks and is often presented wonderfully as organised chaos. My particular favourite scene was the “Baggy Trousers” where the cast dance wildly in a class room setting. Emmerdale legend Deena Payne plays the role of Kath Casey, Joe’s mum, lovingly with a balance of empathy and joy. Joe’s friends Emmo (Billy Roberts) and Lewis (Will Haswell) factor in bags of amusing boyish banter with one liners and a few brash hand gestures. The spirit of Joe's deceased dad, played by Callum McArdle, clevelry protrays his concious; dramatising the fun. The sound was a bit fizzy in a few places, but the cast don’t vocally murder the infamous Madness tracks; instead they make them their own, and it works wonderfully. The show has more punch than a ‘jukebox’ musical; the witty Madness tracks entwines with the dialogue so both go hand in hand serving the purpose of telling the narrative well. And oh what fun the audience had, everyone on their feet dancing away by the end of the show. This production is one step beyond from any standard musical.
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