Ian’s 2.5* Review:
We went to see Our House at the Festival Theatre. I LOVED Our House when we first saw it in the West End in London, and the same production again in Edinburgh a few years later. I love the energy, the music, the darkness and the staging.
This new touring production isn’t a patch on the West End production. It’s lost all of the energy, the music has lost its punch, the darkness has been replaced with razamataz, and the staging has become cliched.
The cast didn’t help. It’s small, and most people have to cover many parts as well as playing with the band. Perhaps it’s just too much for them, but the performances all lack real charisma. All of the darkness, irony, sarcasm, attitude, energy and authenticity of the original production has been replaced by blandness and razamataz. One member of the chorus (who also played a secretary and various other parts) looked like she was performing in a musical. The vocals were shaky in places, and downright tuneless at worst. Unambitious choreography lacked crispness of execution.
All in all very disappointing. I still enjoyed the music and spectacle, but it has become a sad shadow of what it was. I’ll be watching the DVD of the original production soon to cleanse my mind…
Ruth’s 2.5* Review:
When I first saw Our House in the West End about ten years back I thought it was a different class of musical. Often I think the storylines of musicals are a little shallow or silly, but this was something different. I thought this was a challenging, complicated and gritty play that happened to have songs in it – along the lines of Blood Brothers. And I thought that (90% of the time at least) the songs added to the play and advanced the plot rather than being shoehorned in. I bloody hate jukebox musicals, and despite Our House being based on the music of Madness I didn’t consider this to be one.
Well whatever they’ve done to this touring revival of Our House they’ve removed all of the integrity of the original. It has been dumbed down, as if someone said ‘lets make this *fun*!’ and didn’t actually read the story. It is now all cheesy High School Musical, except that High School Musical has a bit more charm, intelligence and charisma about it. And better dancing. And Zac Efron.
I’m sure if you’d not seen this before you could enjoy it for what it is, and I certainly enjoyed the songs and had a nice time being there. But… it’s a shame.
On the plus side the set looks great and they do some cool things with some stylised house shaped lights.