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The West End comes to Leamington

Photo by Helen Ashbourne

Our House, a London Love Story

14 – 18 March Royal Spa Centre, Leamington.

Review by Les Grafton.

This lively production of the “Madness Musical” by the Leamington and Warwick Musical Society had the crowd rocking on opening night, presenting a non-stop cavalcade of the nutty boys’ hits. With their smartly presented front of house and glossy programme, the Society creates the full West End experience in the Midlands. Since 1922, they have put on 96 shows, an incredible feat.

The story concerns property developers gentrifying part of Camden Town. When first produced in 2003 this gave the musical a very contemporary edge. It has a “Sliding Doors” parallel time-line, effectively translated on stage by the production team.

Photo by Helen Ashbourne

Kieran Corrigan as Joe Casey and Nelle Cross, playing his girlfriend Sarah, have fine chemistry as the main protagonists. Their arc takes us from their school days, a sort of ska-themed Hogwarts, to young adulthood. Ben Munday, playing Joes’ ghostly father, manages a strong stage presence particularly in his fine duets with both youngsters. Madness’ back catalogue is woven to create the narrative with occasionally unexpected poignancy, for example when Joe, in prison, juxtaposes “Just Another Day” with the ensemble freely enjoying the “Sun and the Rain “.

Director Stephen Duckham adds to the Society’s legacy with an assured hand, supported by a confident team. Choreographer Emily Lewis brings joyful vigour to the many great dance numbers and Wardrobe Sandy Weaver manages to keep the large ensemble cleverly evolving with multiple costume changes throughout. These skills are showcased in some of the big set pieces: at the start of the second half, we are transported to Las Vegas for a show stopping “Wings of a Dove”. Again, for the finale, the cast dazzle with a Busby Berkley umbrella routine when back in Camden Market with a reprise of “The Sun and the Rain” which has subtle refrains of “Who will buy” from Oliver.

Photo by Helen Ashbourne

Many people will recognise the songs in this clever musical. The manner of presentation is unexpected and delightful even if you are not a Madness devotee. Writer Tim Firth, who also gave us Calendar Girls, knows how to create theatrical magic. The Leamington and Warwick Musical Society deliver this magic to their audience, making “Our House” truly a “House of Fun” and well worth a visit.


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