Review: Madness musical Our House ‘is huge fun’ in St Albans
- Credit: Simon Wallace / MeltingPot Pictures
Madeleine Burton reviews St Albans Musical Theatre Company’s production of Our House at The Alban Arena.
If the opening night of St Albans Musical Theatre Company’s production of Our House is anything to go by, the show will be raising the roof of The Alban Arena for the rest of this week.
The Madness Musical as it is otherwise known is huge fun, packed with familiar songs and a chance for younger members of the company to demonstrate just how good they are.
But it is more than just a procession of Madness songs and dances – although who could possibly object to that.
Our House tackles social themes as well and is a compelling examination of right and wrong.
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Yet the music always remains at the heart of the show and SAMTC’s seven-strong house band are in their element as the cast belts out such familiar numbers as Baggy Trousers, Driving in My Car and House of Fun.
There is even a cheeky reference to SAMTC’s last production, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, as our hero Joe takes his girlfriend Sarah and their friends on a car ride.
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The ensemble is invariably at the heart of musical productions and this one is no exception, providing huge support to the main characters throughout the show and in the fabulous encore.
You have to suspend belief to believe Matt Fowler is Joe at 16, but as the character develops and matures, he comes into his own.
The Joe we meet is at the heart of the good versus bad dilemma – wearing a white trackie as Good Joe and a black suit as Bad Joe – and seeing him tackle quick costume changes from one to the other is worth the ticket price alone.
Katie Garnett’s Sarah demonstrates a fabulous singing voice throughout, particularly in her rendition of N.W.5 with Joe’s dad, Ben Fricke.
And when she is accompanied by her two ‘besties’, Kate Chafer as Angie and Katy Jane Meehan as Billie, the stage comes alive.
But then it is that kind of show and special mention has to go to the work done by choreographer Niki Dunn who has the cast doing all the right Madness moves and musical director Susanne Tierney.
Sam Gaines directs with flair and imagination and it is safe to say that SAMTC has another huge hit on its hands.
• Performances run until Saturday, May 4 at 7.45pm, with a matinee at 2.30pm in addition to the evening show on the final day.
Visit www.alban-arena.co.uk to book tickets, or call the Arena box office on 01727 844488.