Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Graham Clark
Music Features Writer
10:49 AM 16th August 2017

Our House - The Madness Musical

Firstly it should be known that this isn't a musical about the group, Madness - It is a story about a young, working class lad trying to find his way.

Of course it is nothing new, a musical using the hits of a famous group: Abba and the show Mamma Mia springs to mind, but if you think about it the lyrics to the Madness songs have always had a good narrative to them and the music at times lends itself to old time music hall.

Apparently the idea of a Madness musical came from the band themselves. The band approached playwright Tim Firth, writer of Calendar Girls to devise a book. With Firth being a Madness fan, the project seemed right up his street.

On the night of Joe's (Jason Kandi) 16th Birthday a quick decision forces him to choose between himself and his heart. As two different paths unfold before him, the consequences of that choice will change his life forever.

The musical then follows the two paths he could have taken and what would have happened. It takes a while to figure out that two stories are running throughout as you switch between one story and the other.

All the Madness hits you remember pop up during the evening which predictably starts off with the title of the musical, Our House.

The ghost of Jason's dad (Callum McArdle) is always present throughout the performance, though it is wide boy (or should that be Rude boy) Reecey, played by Britain's Got Talent winner, George Sampson who really fits in with the Madness theme.

Sophie Matthew as Joe's girlfriend Sarah plays the part with innocence and charm, whilst Deena Payne as Joe's mum brings some maturity to the night.

The storyline seems quite flimsy compared to the strength of the Madness songs and to be honest it is the songs, not the story that make the show.

The action moves to Las Vegas as Joe and Sarah get married, complete with an Elvis lookalike, who does a rendition of Night Boat to Cairo! Mind you, that scene relates to one of the two story lines in the show.

There is the house too where Joe lives with his mum, the "our house" in the title of the production, where again there are two versions of what might happen, how should Joe try to repossess the house for the property builder he is working for?

The choreography is superb throughout and of course the finale includes a compilation of all the Madness songs you have heard during the evening.

It is funny, entertaining and holds your attention, you just need to remember there are two stories running and the action keeps switching between the two.

Runs until Saturday 19 August
Sheffield Lyceum