Madness! You mention the name Madness and you’ll struggle to find someone who doesn’t like them. Combine their music, with a love story penned by Tim Firth and you have a match made in heaven! So, as to the story itself… ‘There’s a wrong path and a right path, it’s a pretty simple equation…’ which path would you take? That is the quandary faced by lead character Joe Casey when he finds himself in a sticky situation whilst out trying to impress his girlfriend Sarah, in Woodhouse Musical Theatre Companies latest Theatre venture ‘Our House – The Madness Musical’.

Woodhouse Musical Theatre Company, celebrating its 100th year as a musical company should be celebrated for what was a brilliant night of theatre at the Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield. Yes, there were a few opening night jitters (let’s face it who doesn’t have them), however they were quickly overshadowed by an incredibly strong and hard-working cast.

Joe Medlock led the principle line-up as Joe Casey and he was simply excellent. The role of Joe requires some pretty quick changes and shouldn’t be underestimated, Medlock took it all in his stride and made it look as effortless as his vocals were. Suzie Trim as Sarah (Casey’s girlfriend), was every bit as strong and her version of NW5 was stunning.

As well as being a love story, Our House is laced with moments of pure comedy. Matt Ogden as Emmo and Brandon Swain as Lewis deliver with aplomb. Ogden brings the house down with some brilliant moments (I won’t spoil them) and Swain demonstrated some real versatility later on in the story when things take a turn towards the dark path. Tom Widdop packed a real punch as Reecey, he showed real menace as he does his best to lead Joe Casey down the dark path and he does it with a devlish smile! Widdop got the balance spot on and he was excellent in one of the productions many showstoppers ‘Baggy Trousers’. Not even a slight wardrobe malfunction could stop him.

Lauren Kirk as Billie and Megan Fletcher as Angie has great chemistry on stage. They proved every bit as sassy and as bold as the characters required. Other mentions should go to Collin Harris as Joe’s Dad, he was faultless throughout. Without revealing the plot too much the role of Joe’s dad is one of the most difficult in musical theatre as you spend the vast majority of the show without any interaction or contact with any other character. You also have the unenviable task of delivering some of Madness’s biggest and best songs. So Harris should be commended for his performance. Whilst I cannot mention everyone involved I would like to mention two ensemble members in particular who stood out in this production. James Walshe who played no less than five parts in this production proved he was very versatile and he was very watchable on stage. I would also like to mention Amy McEvoy who stood out every time she entered the stage to dance in the musical numbers. Her face lit up and you could really tell she was having as much fun on stage as we were in the audience.

Massive congratulations should go to Director Neil Broadbent for his staging of this production and to Becky White for her Choreography. I would also like to praise Musical Director Robert Durkin and his band for recreating that authentic Madness sound. What a night of theatre! I would also like to Thank Neil and the company of Woodhouse Musical Theatre Company for their welcome and hospitality in showing myself and the production team from Manor Operatic Society, Sheffield around the set.

This was an excellent nights theatre and I would urge everyone to snap up those remaining few tickets – Go ‘One Step Beyond’, put on your ‘Wings of a Dove’ and bring your ‘Baggy Trousers’! This show is not to be missed!

Tickets are available at Book now! Our House runs until Saturday 23rd March 2019.

Reviewer: Chris Hanlon

Reviewed: 19th March 2019

North West End Rating: ★★★★