|Date||18th October 2018|
|Society||Inspirations Theatre Co|
|Venue||Dronfield Civic Hall|
|Type of Production||Musical|
|Musical Director||Melanie Gilbert|
|Choreographer||Joshua Mason, Gabrielle Mason, Rebekah Petrillo, Chloe Nunnington|
Author: Joyce Handbury
Our House is a musical with music and lyrics by Madness, one song ‘It Must Be Love’ written by Labi Siffre and a book by playwright Tim Firth. It revolves around the music of British band, Madness, and follows the story of Joe Casey who on the night of his sixteenth birthday and following a brief altercation with the police over a minor offence, has to decide whether to give himself up or run away. At this point Joe’s life splits into two - the Good Joe, who stays to help, and Bad Joe, who flees. This inevitably makes for a very complex plot. There was no set as such just four moveable coloured doors, some props and lighting clues as well as some very colourful costumes which were all designed to help the audience try to unravel the interwoven story-line, especially if they were unfamiliar with the show. Sadly, there were some major issues with sound both with cast members who were miked and those without mikes and it was such a great pity that some of the humour and story was lost. I’m sure this will be resolved for the following shows. Having said that, it only slightly detracted from the amazing enthusiasm and energy that the whole cast brought to the show. The amount of hard work that had gone into this production by everyone involved was just so obvious. The large chorus numbers, especially ‘Our House’, ‘Baggy Trousers’ and ‘House of Fun’ were so robustly sung and so energetically danced with stylised and ‘recognisable’ dance moves they were just terrific. The principal characters were all well cast. Connor Lovatt was absolutely first-rate as Joe Casey. He was hardly off the stage and had the hard task of portraying the two sides of the story-line which he handled well in both his acting and singing skills. Sarah, the girl of his dreams, was wonderfully and believably portrayed by Matilde Stokes. She also has great skills in both acting and singing and her lovely voice excelled particularly in ‘NW5’ and her duet with Joe ‘It Must Be Love’ which was so delightful. There was an excellent performance from Evan Mason as Joe’s deceased Dad who acted as a ‘narrator’ through the show whilst trying to save his son from going down the wrong path. Amy Thorpe showed real warmth as Joe’s mother and what a super Irish accent she had. I loved the pairing of William Cousins as Lewis and Matthew Szadura as Emmo. They brought out the humour in their roles splendidly and were a great support for Joe. Equally as good was the other ‘double act’ of Ruby Bircumshaw as Angie and Gabrielle Mason as Billie, who were Sarah’s friends. Good support came from Kian Mosley as Reecey, Mark Broadhurst as Mr. Pressman and from the seventeen named cast members, playing various roles. The ‘Driving In My Car’ scene with Joe, Sarah, Lewis, Emmo, Billie and Angie was extremely well delivered and thought out. There was half a ‘real’ car and a superb back projection giving the illusion of them motoring along the highway. I also loved the umbrella sequence in ‘The Sun and the Rain’. The small band was excellent and the production team, especially Melanie Gilbert and Joshua Mason, must be commended on bringing this very difficult show to fruition. I would also like to add how impressed I was that, following an evacuation of the building after only a short while into the show, everyone, especially the cast, carried on as if nothing had happened. Well done to everyone involved.