Our House

This show has now closed, click here for a listing of current and future London shows

Previewed 7 October 2002, Opened 28 October 2002, Closed 16 August 2003 at the Cambridge Theatre in London

The new musical, featuring the songs of Madness, Our House in London. Put together all the hits from national treasures Madness, a hilarious and touching London love story from the writer Tim Firth and throw in some serious genius and you get Our House - one of the most exciting theatrical events for years. Follow our hero Joe Casey and the different paths that life and love take him. Set in present day Camden, this contemporary and fast moving new musical featuring all the MADNESS hits including 'Our House', 'Baggy Trousers', 'It Must Be Love', 'House Of Fun', 'One Step Beyond' and 'My Girl', as well as two brand new songs.

The cast for Our House in London features Michael Jibson as 'Joe' and Julia Gay as 'Sarah'. Written by Tim Firth featuring music and lyrics by Madness, directed by Matthew Warchus with choreography by Peter Darling, designs by Rob Howell, lighting by Mark Henderson and orchestrations by Steve Sidwell.

"The more I see of compilation musicals, the surer I am that Mamma Mia! was touched by genius. It may look simple to line up a list of smash-hit golden oldies and find a story to link them, but on the evidence of Ben Elton's rock-bottom We Will Rock You and now Our House, Tim Firth's effort to make a musical out of the best of Madness, it is anything but. At least the glorious range of Queen's wonderfully operatic, eccentric hits had some narrative potential. Madness's ska has none. Relentlessly boppy, cheery, catchy dance stuff, in my day it was more than welcome on the disco floor between a blast of Wham! and a shot of Culture Club. One Madness song is great, especially if it's It Must Be Love or My Girl; two in a row and you begin to think the record's got stuck; three and you're pretty sure it has and it's nothing short of, well, maddening. Given the limited emotional scope of the material available, Firth has doubtless done his best. He's set his London love story in Camden Town, Madness's stamping ground and the hip, happening, groovy place in the Eighties, full of street markets and bars. Here Joe Casey celebrates his 16th birthday, breaks into a luxury show flat in an attempt to impress his girlfriend and gets arrested. At this point his life can go one of two ways. Bad Joe can follow the path to criminality, a route revealed, often confusingly, in parallel with the alternative open to Good Joe, the level-headed young man who believes that a spell in a young offenders' institution is not the end of the world and that good can come from bad. As the song The Sun And The Rain conveniently goes, 'black turns to white, wrong turns out right'... Matthew Warchus's production has terrific energy and one marvellously choreographed showstopper, Baggy Trousers: a vigorous classroom caper in which gymslipped, blazered kids whizz around on school desks with well oiled castors attached. But the cumulative effect is wearing rather than winning." The Mail on Sunday

"Madness are well-behaved pop stars at heart who love their mothers, and the script knows which side it is on. Virtue prevails in this oddly wholesome show where nobody spits or swears. The songs even fit the plot - just. The familiar tunes wash us along on a wave of wellbeing. What lifts the production is the performance given by young Michael Jibson, who is breathtakingly good as Joe. He looks like the Artful Dodger, but has the hoofing charisma of Gene Kelly. He is on stage virtually all the time - sometimes there seem to be two of him at once - and he acts both his parallel roles with astonishing conviction. By doing the right thing, Joe restores fun to the house. They were dancing in the aisles by the end. If you have ever tapped your foot to Madness, you'll want to join them." The Daily Express

"Our House, at the Cambridge Theatre, is a musical built around the songs of the 1980s pop group Madness. It also features an ingenious pair of interwoven storylines... One decision (and we are shown the consequences of both) leads to detention and no-hope jobs but eventual salvation, the other to brief glory as a junior property tycoon and ultimate perdition. The quick-change acts involved in the double narrative are brilliantly handled, and the two halves finally come together in a fast-moving melodramatic climax. The songs are bound to be the main attraction, however. I can't pretend that their melodies linger on, but they are amiable enough, and less mind-numbing than lots of pop music. They also give the director, Matthew Warchus, the opportunity for some spectacular showmanship. Baggy Trousers becomes a frenetic school's-out dance number... Night Boat to Cairo features glowing red hieroglyphics... Driving in My Car turns into an exhilarating roller-coaster film sequence." The Sunday Telegraph

Our House in London at the Cambridge Theatre previewed from 7 October 2002, opened on 28 October 2002 and closed on 16 August 2003