A Standing Ovation for Our House – Review – Venue Cymru
Featuring some of the best-loved Madness songs including ‘It must be love’ and ‘Our house’ this feel good, high-energy musical promised to have everyone singing and dancing in the aisles. The show stars Britain’s Got Talent winner 2008, George Sampson and Deena Payne, Emmerdale’s Viv Hope and started its run at Venue Cymru last night.
Now I wasn’t sure what to expect with Our House, I’d heard about it so many times and that is used the music of Madness as the theme for the show, but it was a lovely surprise to see how the show is put together.
The Olivier Award-winning, West End smash hit musical is written by Tim Firth who also wrote Calendar Girls, Our House tells the story of Joe Casey (Jason Kajdi) who, on the night of his sixteenth birthday, commits a petty crime in a bid to impress the girl (Sophie Matthew) of his dreams. When the police arrive he faces a life changing decision; does he stay and own up like an honest man, or make his escape and go on the run? Joe’s world splits in two and in a “sliding doors” moment two very different paths unfold before him.
The idea of having the show in the form of “Sliding doors” works brilliantly, although a little confusing at times, as we are taken through the two different lives that Joe’s life would have taken depending on which decision he made, there are some brilliant moments with two Joe’s on stage at some points which has been brilliantly done for the stage.
Our House … It’s Madness!
Not only do we have the fantastic tunes of Madness throughout the show, but the show has some amazing choreography from Fabian Aloise, there is so much dancing on the stage throughout the show that works very well with not only the music but also with the story as well.
The cast Our House is also well put together, along with Jason Kajdi and Sophie Matthew is Britain’s Got Talent winner from 2008, George Sampson as Reecey as a rather dubious character that is at almost every bad decision that Joe Casey makes throughout the show. I found myself laughing on several occasions during Reecey’s moment on the stage.
George found his passion for performing by busking on the streets of Manchester at the age of twelve. After being spotted as an exceptional talent and encouraged to audition for Britain’s Got Talent, he rose to fame at the age of fourteen after winning the programme’s second series in 2008 with his interpretation of Singing in the Rain. Following the success of the show, he made his stage debut in the West End hip-hop musical Into the Hoods.
Joe’s mother is played by a face that many many recognised from Emmerdale as Viv Hope, Deena Payne puts on a brilliant performance as Joe’s mother, we meet the character as she announces she’s pregnant to Joe’s father, before we are whisked away to moments before Joe makes that one decision that could change everything.
Joe’s father (Callum McArdle) plays the part very well as he becomes Joe’s conscience for the decisions that he makes, Callum’s time on stage is certainly memorable, especially with some of the lighting that is used upon him on the stage.
Deena certainly has some great stage presence and she is a joy to not only watch during her performance but also to listen to in the musical pieces that she performed.
Jessica Niles and Etisyai Philip are brilliant as Angie and Billie, they bounced off each other brilliantly with their lines and acting during their performance and also with the other cast members, a joy to watch and they certainly had me laughing out loud during the show.
Our House is so nicely put together, the show is a feel good play, but that’s not to say that it’s all happy all the time, there are moments when the dark side of Joe’s life come across and I even found myself having a teary eye in several parts of the show, but overall, Our House is a show that you have to see, it’s got great music, great performances, amazing choreography and a wonderful use of set design from an abandoned warehouse to a rather beaten up on banger for “Driving in my Car”.