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'Our House' --National Tour Reviews

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'Our House' --National Tour Reviews#1
Posted: 6/4/08 at 6:41am
The first one I've read from The Stage.com isn't to complimentary saying the evening is confused and heavy handed.
Lets hope the next few get better.
A young actress with Noel coward after a dreadful opening night performance said to him 'Well, i knew my lines backwards this morning!'' Noels fast reply was ''Yes dear, and thats exactly how you said them tonight'!'
Updated On: 6/4/08 at 06:41 AM
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re: 'Our House' --National Tour Reviews#2
Posted: 6/4/08 at 7:44am
Ive not agreed with a review in The Stage for years

however here it is

http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/20897/our-house

For the first 30 minutes of this vaguely raucous and stereotypical musical show, I did not have the least idea what was going on. As Matthew Warchus knows only too well, if a narrative is to be carried on a lyric, that particular lyric and its delivery across to us, must be crystal clear.
A scene from the touring production of Our House

Sadly this was not the case on many occasions throughout a heavy evening, filled with stereotypes and production numbers which revived trace memories of Chicago, Blood Brothers and others - even Hamlet, since our hero has a ghostly father on hand to give advice from the other side and sing some dismal songs.

In its original structure, it seems to me that much of this show was initially joyful and vibrant, with a certain delicacy.

Somehow, those qualities translated into hugely busy production numbers become often joyless and dull. When that happens, the band hoists up the decibels even higher to beat you into submission until you sit with your fingers in your ears, a precaution taken when the structures of the inner ear are considered more valuable than the noisy pleasures of the evening.

As the evening rolls along, a young company dance their hearts out in various sequences from a Vegas wedding to a London market. As the dialogue flashes past and the lyrics flash past even faster, you get some of what Warchus is trying to get across to us - is a moral structure worked out through the same young man, Joe Casey, half of whose nature is good, while the other half is naughty and greedy. Chris Carswell plays both facets with energy and a sense of purpose and at least two facial expressions.

But there is little to tax your mind here and few things to amuse either, but if you like bouncy evenings of an escapist nature, get along to a theatre near you.
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
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re: 'Our House' --National Tour Reviews#2
Posted: 6/4/08 at 7:46am
Yea, maybe we should have just ignored this one.
'The Stage' isn't loved by many on here anyway or in general.
A young actress with Noel coward after a dreadful opening night performance said to him 'Well, i knew my lines backwards this morning!'' Noels fast reply was ''Yes dear, and thats exactly how you said them tonight'!'
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re: 'Our House' --National Tour Reviews#3
Posted: 6/4/08 at 7:49am
I dont think many reviews for this will pop up this week as its not a London Production, the papers in Birmingham will probably post some reviews.

A friend went to see it last night and said he was blown away at how good it was, im going next week
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
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re: 'Our House' --National Tour Reviews#4
Posted: 6/4/08 at 7:51am
Its playing all the major houses around London so plenty of opportunities to catch it down here near London.
Cant wait- i love this very clever, very stylish unusual show.
A young actress with Noel coward after a dreadful opening night performance said to him 'Well, i knew my lines backwards this morning!'' Noels fast reply was ''Yes dear, and thats exactly how you said them tonight'!'
Updated On: 6/4/08 at 07:51 AM
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re: 'Our House' --National Tour Reviews#5
Posted: 6/5/08 at 8:38am
Our House Review - Taken From Birmingham Mail

Our House, Birmingham Repertory Theatre
Jun 4 2008 By Diane Parkes

BLIMEY, this musical is going to blow the roof off The Rep.

It is loud, frantic and young, full of energy and spark.

While Our House is set to music by 1980s pop band Madness, it is not a tribute show.

The storyline by Tim Firth, who also wrote the film Calendar Girls, is ingenious, telling two parallel stories of the fate of Joe Casey, who on his 16th birthday has a choice to make and two possible lives to lead.

Weaving back and forth, characters and story lines connect until both stories reach their conclusion at the same time.

There is no doubt that a good deal of shoehorning does go on to ensure tracks like Driving in My Car, Wings of a Dove and Night Boat to Cairo can be slotted in but others such as Simple Equation, It Must Be Love and My Girl sit perfectly into the story line.

In the main the cast is young and energetic and if there are moments when they stray off tune this is easily made up for in enthusiasm.

Chris Carswell as Joe Casey offers an exhausting performance, going through more rapid costume changes than Madonna, while Miria Parvin as his girlfriend Sarah is the strongest singer in the cast.

The celeb count features X-Factor winner Steve Brookstein as Joe's dead father who is convinced he can help his son to lead a better life than his own and Gwyneth Strong, probably best known as Cassandra in the television series Only Fools and Horses, as the indomitable mum Kath. All in all this show is a celebration of life and all it has to offer. Carrying a feel-good factor, it is a traditional morality tale laced with lots of well-known tunes and plenty of knees-up.
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
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re: 'Our House' --National Tour Reviews#6
Posted: 6/5/08 at 8:45am
imo, The Stage has never reviewed a show well for years. They usually give an opinion and summary of the show.

Can't wait to catch Our House again, loved it when it played originally in London at The Cambridge
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re: 'Our House' --National Tour Reviews#7
Posted: 6/5/08 at 12:11pm
Spot on TB2. Their reviews read like that of some local gazette or free newspaper not the only theatre rag in the UK.
A young actress with Noel coward after a dreadful opening night performance said to him 'Well, i knew my lines backwards this morning!'' Noels fast reply was ''Yes dear, and thats exactly how you said them tonight'!'
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re: 'Our House' --National Tour Reviews#8
Posted: 6/5/08 at 1:53pm
Well I don't know about you, but I prefer this one. I am going back next Thursday to see the finished production after the rehearsal last week.



Taken from http://www.stirrer.co.uk/

OUR HOUSE (Birmingham Rep)
05-06-2008
It’s a Madness musical alright, but there’s a compelling and complex storyline too reports Paula Elenor.
Our House, the Rep’s main house season finale, had the audience members of all ages out of their seats in a Madness inspired standing ovation on Tuesday night! And I was clapping along enthusiastically with them, even though the musical is not exactly one of my favourite theatrical genres. For this is a slick, high-energy, yet thought-provoking show – well worth seeing while you have the chance.
The show, written by Tim Firth in collaboration with Matthew Warchus as director, has already won awards in London. This production, on tour with a new young cast, works well on many levels.
It is intelligently scripted - the narrative encapsulates the mood and sensibility of Madness’s hits, but it has not been forced into fitting around Madness’s much loved hits like a size 8 foot into a size 6 designer shoe- ouch!
At first glance it seems to be straight-forward enough. Our House, 25 Casey Street, NW1 is special – it was built literally and metaphorically – on the industry, determination and love of three generations of an Irish migrant family.
Would that all be destroyed by the wrong choices made by Joe Casey – the loved and loving son of Kath Casey? Would he follow in the footsteps of his feckless, jailbird Dad down Loser Lane?
This could be a simple redemption story – there’s even the stereotypical baddie – the property developer, Mr Pressman, to tempt our hero from the right path. However, the story offers us something more complex and compelling to get our teeth into.
Our central character, Joe, is split into two, and the audience follow the alternate paths taken by two Joes – dependent on the choice he/they make on one fateful day – his 16th birthday.
The song and dance set pieces epitomise the qualities of the show. Baggy Trousers, for example, is set in a classroom full of impatient, rebellious teenagers desperate to start their own lives on their own terms.
It is brilliantly choreographed, energetically danced by the youthful ensemble and dynamic – school desks skid around the stage on wheels, prefiguring the fabulous “In My Car” number when Joe travels in his own car – not a Jaguar!
Chris Carswell, makes his professional debut as Joe, the lead character. Look out for him – you will see more of him. He managed the complex character and costume changes with verve and confidence AND he can act, sing and dance well. His love interest, Sarah (Miria Parvin) was his match and made the most of her solos particularly “It Must Be Love!”
However, it was Steve Brookstein ( an ex X factor winner, so I’ve been told!) who impressed me the most. He plays Joe’s Dad who observes and comments on Joe’s moral choices as a kind of narrator or chorus from afar – he died a jailbird loser - but is still a presence in the lives of his wife and son.
Steve’s voice – especially in the second part – really evoked a sense of loss, regret and guilt, heightening or counter-pointing the emotional discourse of the main action.
So, overall this is an exceptional show. Even if you are not mad on Madness or musicals, you could still find yourself caught up in the House of Fun, clapping and dancing along enthusiastically with the rest of the audience at the end. And don’t forget to bring your car (not a Jaguar) and baggy trousers!
Our House is at Birmingham rep until June 21. Tickets from www.birmingham_rep.co.uk
Posted by Mad Dog at 1:26 PM
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re: 'Our House' --National Tour Reviews#9
Posted: 6/5/08 at 1:59pm
Fab!
...now get this back to the West End before 'The Wedding Singer' snaps up a decent joint!
A young actress with Noel coward after a dreadful opening night performance said to him 'Well, i knew my lines backwards this morning!'' Noels fast reply was ''Yes dear, and thats exactly how you said them tonight'!'
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re: 'Our House' --National Tour Reviews#10
Posted: 6/5/08 at 2:00pm
I hope it does go in to London but i cant help feeling its not going too
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
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re: 'Our House' --National Tour Reviews#11
Posted: 6/5/08 at 2:03pm
stranger things have happened but.....maybe not.
A young actress with Noel coward after a dreadful opening night performance said to him 'Well, i knew my lines backwards this morning!'' Noels fast reply was ''Yes dear, and thats exactly how you said them tonight'!'
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re: 'Our House' --National Tour Reviews#12
Posted: 6/5/08 at 7:27pm
I did see some provisional dates right into next spring so it might be a while. I was talking to one of the cast last week and they think it a possibility it could make the West End but of course at this stage you cannot tell how it will be received nationwide. Personally I don't see how anyone could not love it but maybe I am prejudiced. So nice though to come out of a theatre with the feel-good factor.
I love it too that it seems all cast members are receiving approval because it really is a 'team-work' show and everyone contributes to the whole. Have a feeling that I might have to go to several of the venues now.
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re: 'Our House' --National Tour Reviews#13
Posted: 6/6/08 at 7:03pm
I'm itching to see this 'cos I missed it in the West End.
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re: 'Our House' --National Tour Reviews#14
Posted: 6/13/08 at 5:48pm
Just got back from a second visit to the Rep. My first was to the preview which was treated as a dress rehearsal and even at that stage I would have rated it as 95% perfect. This time would rate it as 1000% perfect. They seem to have made many small changes, all to the good. The cast seems to have hit it's stride now and they certainly nailed it last night. It is really sharp and sassy now. Chris Carswell has grown enormously in confidence and Jenny Fitzpatrick and Sophie Nomovete were supberb. Sophie seemed to have picked up a leg injury and was strapped up and had an ankle support but if that hadn't been visible you wouldn't have known there was a problem. Miria's solo NW5 was spine-tingling and Steve Brookstein has really grown in stature and there was a really touching little scene at the end which works so well. Couldn't resist, going back yet again next week as I will then have to wait for it to come back down the country again for the next visit (mind you, I might not be able to resist an excursion) You only have to next Saturday so if you are even thinking about it, get there fast. Don't miss it because you really will regret it. The ovation at the end was deafening and the full cast finale was just wonderful and they so looked as if they were having a great time in it too. The whole place was buzzing at the end and when I turned and looked up at the audience all you could see were wide grins. Now some of you must get up there and then you can write definitive critiques for us putting in all the technical bits and informed comment.
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re: 'Our House' --National Tour Reviews#15
Posted: 6/13/08 at 5:50pm
Fabulous! Wonderful! and Great!

A young actress with Noel coward after a dreadful opening night performance said to him 'Well, i knew my lines backwards this morning!'' Noels fast reply was ''Yes dear, and thats exactly how you said them tonight'!'
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re: 'Our House' --National Tour Reviews#16
Posted: 6/13/08 at 6:06pm
itching and scratching now!

I'm seeing it at the glorious Bradford Alhambra in July.
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re: 'Our House' --National Tour Reviews#17
Posted: 6/22/08 at 9:21am
Glasgow dates-
If you are going to phone and book tickets quote "eflyer" and get best seats for £15 !
I suppose you could try this for other dates too if you have the nerve, you never know.
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re: 'Our House' --National Tour Reviews#18
Posted: 7/25/08 at 5:44pm
Itch scratched!

And it was bloody brilliant!!!

This has to be the best jukebox musical by a long chalk. What a great book, powered up by the funky score and spunky choreography. The whole thing was staged superbly, particularly Driving in My Car and The Sun and the Rain but much else as well. There were at least three tricks where both Joes appear to be on stage at the same time; well, either that or some very nifty costume changes. It also had a big fun finale like Billy Elliot. But, my goodness, the very smart book had me on edge and was at times gut wrenching.

Many of the cast were fresh out of stage school and so perhaps the performances weren't as mature as they could be but that is a minor criticism. The exuberance was there and the audience had a great time and rewarded them with a standing ovation. Yet I was surprised the theatre was only about half-full. Hopefully that's just the effect of summer holidays - this show deserves to find an audience.
Updated On: 7/25/08 at 05:44 PM
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re: 'Our House' --National Tour Reviews#19
Posted: 7/25/08 at 5:56pm
I told you!! And did you shed a tear when Joe 'saw' his Dad at the end? I was sobbing and then came the finale and we were dancing and clapping with the tears still drying on our cheeks. Going again to Milton Keynes and Wimbledon and maybe somewhere else too. It is very addictive
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re: 'Our House' --National Tour Reviews#20
Posted: 7/25/08 at 6:05pm
You did indeed! I shed a tear when the doors went back to reveal Mrs Casey's funeral - I couldn't believe they'd done that, even though there are plenty of tragedies in musicals. And yes, like you say, it did a brilliant job of producing joy and sorrow one after the other.

I think this will also give a great theatre experience for the non-theatregoing Madness fans who just go along to hear the songs.
Updated On: 7/25/08 at 06:05 PM