Writer: Tim Firth
Director: Gary Lloyd
Reviewer: Ann Bawtree
Our House by Tim Firth is a book based around the songs of the band Madness; who were formed in 1976. The story and songs eventually become the musical, however it is more of a ‘what if’ idea than a narrative.
Decisions sometimes have to be taken in a split second and the results can affect the rest of your life. This is illustrated through the acted out incidents in the life of teenager, Joe. We are taken from what happens if you do what is honourable, success, a career and marrying your childhood sweetheart follows. However, making the wrong decision through self-interest and cowardice can lead to finding yourself on the slippery slope to failure, a prison record and loneliness. Travelling with Joe from his life as the happy lad about Camden into the parallel universe of his moral decline fills the rest of the evening.
This production from the excellent Guildford School of Acting has a limitless supply of high quality talent to cast not only the ten characters with speaking parts and solo spots, but to an enormous ensemble of over two dozen students. They dance and sing with such verve and vitality the audience would have been happy with a show lasting twice as long. The choreography is athletic and ambitious but faultlessly performed. The performers could have been classical dancers studying to hone their acting skills, certainly not actors who can dance a bit. An equally enormous production and creative team were on hand, largely made up of staff members.
The songs are tuneful, with meaningful lyrics. The band, composed of some of the School’s staff and under the direction of Tom Turner, supported the singers and dancers and carried them and the audience along with it, not to mention getting them jigging in their seats.
This thoroughly enjoyable boisterous show is for all ages and not in the least dated, it has something for everyone.
Runs until 19 March: Image: Contributed