our ouse

Our House

The Madness Musical

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry


Madness was always my favourite of the Two-Tone bands for wit, energy and realism. The show, which has been around since 2002, is based on their music and shows off all these qualities brilliantly.

This new production is full of energy particularly the dance sequences which simply leave you – and probably the actors too – breathless.

The story, from the pen of Tim Firth, is complex but cleverly and well told. It plays with the hypotheticals of the main character’s sixteenth birthday evening with a two, later three, way split of optional outcomes.

Young Joe Casey (Jason Kajdi) lives at 25 Casey Street, Camden with mum Kath (Deena Payne), in the house they were given by the great grandfather who built the street.

It is the final house that Pressman Developments must demolish for a new, prestigious block of apartments to be built. Long-lost Dad (Callum McCardle – beautiful voice) narrates. Joe loves Sarah (Sophie Matthew) BUT celebrations go wrong when rain makes them seek shelter in Pressman Developments new building.

Joe has the choice to stay and face the police or run and risk everything including Sarah. Two storylines follow the consequences of those choices with starkly contrasting lives. The show is in the Guinness Book of Records for the number of quick changes the main actor has to make.

Initially, the ‘right’ choice seems to lead nowhere but this is a moral tale and things have to turn out OK. Reecey (George Sampson), as the ‘baddie’ leading Joe astray, is an exceptional dancer and a real joy to watch. Two of Joe’s friends Emmo (Billy Roberts) and Lewis (Will Haswell) provide light relief and occasionally a moral compass to the wayward Joe. Sarah’s friends Billie (Etisyai Philip) and Angie (Jessica Niles) provide a lot of the comedy but are also no slouches in the dance department.

As you’d expect, Madness songs pepper the show with great, lively music supported by a live band in the pit. There’s plenty of pathos, and humour which throws the spotlight on Joe’s fortunes as they gradually change from bad to good. Directed by James Tobias, this is a hugely enjoyable show with lots to recommend it. To 11-11-17.

Jane Howard


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