Our House

Date 22nd October 2014
Society Allegro
Venue ChurchHill Theatre
Type of Production Musical
Director Andy Johnston
Musical Director Finlay Turnbull
Choreographer Caroline Howie Inglis

Report

Author: Dorothy Johnstone

Allegro have always been a company willing to tackle some of the lesser known or performed shows and this year was no exception. ‘Our House’ is rarely performed perhaps because, despite the music being lively and well known, it is technically a very difficult show. With 39 scene changes it faces the possibility of being rather slow moving. This was certainly not the case in this production.

Although the story is quite disjointed, the production moved along at a good pace. The dynamic, energetic chorus gave it their all in the big production numbers where the choreography was lively and slick. ‘Baggy Trousers’ with it’s cheeky schoolkids was excellent as was ‘Wings of a Dove’ which exuded enthusiasm and fun. One of my other favourite scenes was ‘The Sun and the Rain’ with it’s colourful stallholders and quirky use of umbrellas.

The principal characters were all well cast. Thomas McFarlane gave a strong performance as Joe Cassidy successfully demonstrating the contrasting characteristics and attitudes of Good Joe and Bad Joe as he follows the two different paths of life he can choose. This is a marathon role with Joe rarely off the stage and constantly having to quickly change costume to suit the character and Thomas did this admirably. He must have been exhausted! Emma Collins is a good all round performer and was a charming girlfriend Sarah developing her character to compliment the good or bad Joe. The duet ‘It Must Be Love’ was well sung by Sarah and Joe.

Lori Flannigan (Angie) and Emma Dawson(Billie) were a great double act with a natural rapport while Andrew Knox (Emmo) and Ronan Radin (Lewis) were also a strong pairing providing humour and support for Joe. Richard Tebbitt (Joe’s Dad) gave a grand performance with his powerful voice and good stage presence.

Much of the music of Madness is well known and the company were vocally strong and enthusiastic. The storyline of ‘Our House’ is quite complicated to follow and unfortunately it was at times difficult to hear the dialogue and song lyrics due to the inconsistency in the balance of sound between the band (a very good band) and the vocalists and over amplification causing distortion. This was a great pity as much of the humour and story was lost and did distract from an excellent production.

The show was very well costumed throughout with it’s colourful 80’s style costumes lighting up the stage.

All in all this was a good and enjoyable production of a difficult show which had the audience singing along in a well directed finale.