What a busy weekend! First we had been gifted tickets for the Cheltenham Literature Festival seeing Konnie Huq talk about her new book Cookie and Rob Biddulph’s new book Show and Tell. Then in the evening we were off to see Cheltenham Operatic & Dramatic Society (CODS) performing Our House the musical by Madness. The whole day was a huge success and everyone we saw fantastic. It really ended on a high watching Our House with almost the whole audience up clapping along to the encore. It was such an electric atmosphere and the cast’s enthusiasm was just contagious.
CODS are performing Our House at the Cheltenham Playhouse from Friday the 11th of October until Saturday the 19th (which has two shows: 2pm and 7.30pm).
It’s a long time since we’ve been to the theatre. It’s something we always enjoyed doing frequently before having children and so we were thrilled to be invited to review Our House. As soon as we saw Our House featured such iconic hits by Madness as well, Our House, It must be love, Driving in my car and Baggy Trousers, we were eager to not miss out. It’s also great to have a date night, as we don’t get ‘out out’ on our own very often.
Our House the musical by Madness at Cheltenham Playhouse review
From the moment the lights dimmed and the band began we were captivated by the cast’s singing and dancing. Their energy shone through and their well delivered lines had the whole audience laughing.
Our House is set in Casey Street in Camden Town where Joe Casey, played by Jamie Evans, lives. On his 16th birthday Joe breaks into a new development, built overlooking Casey Street in a bid to impress his girlfriend Sarah (Olivia Facer). The police arrive and Joe must decide does he follow the route he always has as ‘golden boy’ making the right decisions by turning himself in, or, does he run. The musical then follows as his life splits in two with many a twist a long the way. Will one be right? Will there be a happy ending? What will happen with Sarah?
The cast played their roles to a tee, Jame Evans as Joe is brilliant, and his on stage costume changes are so quick they’re such a surprise and Olivia Facet’s voice as Sarah really stood out in the second Act when singing “It must be love.” The actors playing Emmo and Lewis, were hilarious, these cheeky chappies had us all chuckling away throughout the evening, as did Sarah’s friends, Billie and Angie. And, Nick Payne was brilliant at playing the bad boy and scammer, Reecy, a character quite like the Artful Dodger.
Of course a love story is a must in a musical and Our House did not disappoint. Joe and Sarah were captivating and the whole audience just wanted to see which scenario, if any, led to the two being together. There were definitely more twists than I ever would have anticipated in 2.5 hours, the happy moments, juxtaposed with bad events, good twists, harsh twists and the wonder of if this musical is actually going to end up with a happy ending. Did either scenario end up happy? Did neither? You’ll just have to go and see it to find out.
We couldn’t guess what was going to happen despite hubby and I wondering this through the interval as we munched our ice creams.
The audience sensed the contagious energy of the cast through out. Laughing, tapping along, swaying, everyone seemed to enjoy it. The end was fantastic with the majority of the audience up on their feet, showing not only was it a great show, it was an absolutely fantastic atmosphere too.
Thank you CODS for inviting us, we had a fantastic evening, enjoyed all the hits, the singing, the dancing and the fast-paced story line.
Our House at the Cheltenham Playhouse is directed by Tim Jones, choreographed by Lucy Hill and the musical director is Paul McLaughlin.
CODS perform 3 shows a year; a summer musical at the Everyman Theatre, and an autumn musical & winter play at the Playhouse Theatre, both in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
The musical Our House was written in 2002 by Tim Firth and woman Olivier Award for Best New Musical.
* Tickets gifted but, as always, all opinions are our own!