Review: Our House

Amateur musical theatre club Allegro in Our House. Pic: Comp
Amateur musical theatre club Allegro in Our House. Pic: Comp
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For some local am-dram groups, it makes sense to showcase musicals that are well-known, cheap to produce and small in cast size.

* * * *

Churchhill Theatre

Allegro, however, are a little bit different. Not only have they devoted themselves to an epic showpiece involving 42 cast members, a full band and an onstage car, they’re tackling a musical that was never that successful in the first place. Madness?

Churchill Theatre is Our House this week, folks, and for one resident – 16-year-old London geezer Joe Casey – his life is literally about to go down two different garden paths.

Keen to impress his girlfriend, he breaks into a building site and it’s not long before the police are hot on his trail, forcing Joe into making a life-changing decision: stay and take the rap for the sake of his girlfriend?

Or flee the scene and continue his crime-laden existence?

Unable to decide, we witness both Joe’s good and bad futures, backed, of course, by a soundtrack of hit songs from 80s ska-pop legends Madness.

OK, so there were a couple of technical issues, but it’s to be expected on opening night (a wee bit of ironing will quickly sort the creases out) and in no way did it reflect the abilities of the performers.

The real fun concerns the “madness” of the chorus’s nutty, colourfully chaotic, song ‘n’ dance routines. For if you aren’t in the mood to “skank” along by the end, well, you probably need your knees seen to by a doctor.

The chemistry and wit between sassy slappers Billie (Emma Dawson) and Angie (Lori Flannigan), meanwhile, was audibly appreciated every time they appeared.

And while lead actor Thomas McFarlane is to be commended for his performance, too, there’s no getting away from the fact that he comes across as too camp and clean-cut to be wholly believable as street-wise tough-nut Joe.

Nevertheless, Our House remains a House Of Fun.

It might need to go One Step Beyond to rack up another review star, but it’s by no means an Embarrassment.

Take the Night Boat To Morningside and see for yourself.

• Run ends Saturday