Fringe Box



Stage Dragon: Our House – The Madness Musical At The Yvonne Arnaud

Published on: 15 Mar, 2016
Updated on: 15 Mar, 2016

Wow – what a scintillating performance! When you enter the auditorium you are met with music designed to get your toes tapping and your lips moving before the musical commences.

“Driving in my Car“ had a lovely pink convertible used against a movie of driving sequences. Photo by Mark Dean

“Driving in my Car“ – Isn’t quite a Jaguar! Photo by Mark Dean.

The curtain rises, and the energy of the Guildford School of Acting cast singing and dancing to the Madness song Our House sets the expectation of the audience for the rest of the evening.

Looking around the audience several times during the performance made me realise that there were others toe tapping and dare I say it – chair dancing – like me.

There wasn’t enough space in the aisles or I feel that some of the audience would have been on their feet, participating!

Alex Ryland-Jones (bad boy Reecey) leading “Good” Joe astray. By Mark Dean

Alex Ryland-Jones (bad boy Reecey) leading “Good” Joe astray. Photo by Mark Dean.

The band played every song with passion and it was obvious they were enjoying themselves, imparting their enthusiasm to the cast and audience alike. All the music and lyrics were written by Madness and were familiar to the whole theatre.

Our House charts the fortunes of Camden boy, Joe after he makes a fateful decision on his 16th birthday.

The play follows the ‘Good’ Joe who gives himself up after a bodged burglary and the ‘Bad’ Joe who scarpers from the police through their alternate lives.

The frightening rollercoaster ride. Photo by Mark Dean

The frightening rollercoaster ride with the heart-stopping movie background. Photo by Mark Dean.

Aran MacRae as Joe, no sooner left the stage in his ‘Good’ persona, than he reappeared in his ‘Bad’ persona. Each persona had its own costuming, and he must have been very tired at the end of the evening with all his costume changes.

His onstage performance was very fluid and believable. You couldn’t help but cheer for the ‘Good’ Joe, as life conspired to beat him down for doing the right thing; and hope that the ‘Bad’ Joe would get his comeuppance! Joe’s friends, Lewis (Lewis McBean) and Emmo (Stephen Patrick) reminded me of my brother’s friends.

Joe’s mother Kath (Tessa Kadler) provided a picture of a mother who had had her own ups and downs in life. During dance numbers she stayed true to her character, dancing like any mother would to music of her child’s generation.

Jessica Croll as Sarah, got a raw deal in the storyline, but gave us a performance that covered a range of ages from schoolgirl to mature woman.

Her crazy girlfriends, Billie (Courtney Bowman) and Angie (Marina Lawrence-Mahrra) had an answer for everything and danced like there was no tomorrow.

Sarah, Billie, and Angie reading Joe’s letter. Photo by Mark Dean

Sarah, Billie, and Angie reading Joe’s letter. Photo by Mark Dean.

Adam Pettit as Joe’s father provided us with narrative, drawing a parallel with his life and Joe’s.

The costumes deserve a mention as the cast started out as 16-year-olds in school uniforms, which were just as I imagined real life school children would wear and progressed to more adult clothing. I especially liked the bar coding on the prison uniforms.

The singers and dancers – yes the cast did both at the same time – had an appropriately choreographed dance for every song. What they did to the teacher on the last day of school (to the song Simple Equation) doesn’t bear repeating.

Driving In My Car had a lovely pink convertible used against a movie of driving sequences.

The rollercoaster scene was fine on the way up, but then I had to close my eyes…

I left the theatre humming and I am still humming (and chair dancing) as I write this. A brilliant performance by all!

Our House – The Madness Musical is on at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre until Saturday, March 19. To book, click on the link or telephone 01483 440000.

Star rating 4

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Responses to Stage Dragon: Our House – The Madness Musical At The Yvonne Arnaud

  1. Paul Spooner Reply

    March 16, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Only 4 stars! Last night’s performance was a 5 star performance without any question! A performance worthy of the West End. Brilliant energetic talent.

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