Reviewed by Sarah Miatt
Have you ever done something in your life and wondered what would have happened if you’d done something else?
This is the main question asked in Our House, the musical based around the music of top British band Madness. Many of these “Jukebox musicals” have very little plot, but not so in this case. Often described as a cross between Sliding Doors and Blood Brothers this heart-warming and funny musical was written by Tim Firth (Calendar Girls) and follows the life of young Joe Casey (Sean Ridley). Joe, breaks into a block of flats on his 16th birthday to impress his girlfriend Sarah (Molly Lancaster) and the story is then split between “Good Joe” who stays and faces up to the police and “Bad Joe” who runs away.
This is a reasonably complex musical that Fareham Musical Society did extremely well. Despite a few minor first night set and sound malfunctions this was a polished and slick show and the overall feel was fast paced and full of energy.
The cast were all, without exception, clearly having the best of fun on that stage with more energy than I have seen in a show for a long time. The two sets of comedy duos were brilliant. Adam Bromley as Emmo and Gareth Billington as Lewis Joes best friends were suitably idiotic and had fantastic chemistry both with each other and Sean Ridley's Joe. Hannah Edwins as Angie and Zara Newbury-Skinner as Billie as Sarah's sarcastic and critical best friends were nothing short of hilarious with great comic timing.
Stuart Frank as Reecey was very convincing as the villain of the piece with a great bad boy swagger. Graeme Clements was very believable as Joe's deceased criminal dad with some lovely moments as he’s watching the decisions his son makes and also made a fine narrator to the tale.
Marie Ridley as Kath Casey was fabulous with a great Irish accent and wonderful facial expressions, the only complaint was we didn’t see more of her. Molly Lancaster as Joe's childhood sweetheart was very endearing with a beautiful singing voice and performed with a wonderful emotion that was heartbreaking at times.
Finally, Joe Casey himself, Sean Ridley. This was a standout and phenomenal performance. I have never seen someone perform with so much energy and put so much into a role. He was seldom off stage and when he was it was to do an insanely quick costume change. Not once did his character or enthusiasm drop. He was a pleasure to watch.
There is nothing not to like about this show so get yourselves down to Ferneham Hall and I guarantee you’ll be dancing in the aisles and singing to your favourite Madness tracks.
Our House is being performed at Ferneham Hall until Saturday 23rd September. Nightly at 7:30pm and matinée at 2:30pm Saturday.