Our House review at Churchill Theatre, Bromley – ‘bags of energy’
With music and lyrics by Madness, Our House went on to win the Olivier award for best new musical after its premiere in 2002.
The story in some ways resembles the Gwyneth Paltrow movie Sliding Doors as the narrative divides fairly early on, exploring two different paths for protagonist Joe Casey. Tim Firth’s book may be populated by fairly two dimensional characters but the dual narrative coupled with a joyously familiar score provides plenty of fun along the way.
There are nods to Fosse, Bart and even a touch of Carousel in this new touring production but at its heart is the jubilant Madness score, brought to life by musical director Dustin Conrad and ably supported with some vibrant choreography by Fabian Aloise. Britain’s Got Talent cherub George Sampson has matured enough to play bad boy Reecey; Aloise uses him wisely and his sharp routines give an edge to a marvellous Baggy Trousers routine.
Occasionally the enthusiasm gets the better of the cast and lines are lost in favour of pacing or drowned out by an uneven sound balance. That said, Jason Kajdi is decidedly likeable as Joe, conveying subtle changes in character as the story divides and negotiating some pretty sharp quick-changes to boot. Despite equally strong work from Sophie Matthew as Sarah, a negative side effect of the dual storyline is the underwriting of both versions of Joe’s love interest.
James Tobias’ direction may lack subtlety but it suits the nature of Firth’s script and Aloise’s high energy production numbers. Wings of a Dove is a particular crowd-pleaser.
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