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Cambridge Theatre: Previewed 7 October, Opened 28 October 2002, Closed 16 August 2003

Musical by Tim Firth featuring the songs of MADNESS. Directed by Matthew Warchus with choreography by Peter Darling, designs by Rob Howell and lighting by Mark Henderson.

Our House is the first new musical for decades which celebrates London. It's a pacey, hilarious and often touchingly romantic journey through one boy's London life.

WINNER! 2003 Olivier Award for 'Best New Musical'.

As well as featuring two new songs written by MADNESS for the show, Our House is full to bursting with the band's greatest musical moments, including: Baggy Trousers, It Must Be Love, Driving In My Car, House of Fun and Night Boat to Cairo.

MADNESS can only be described as a National Treasure - Anyone who has switched on a radio during the last twenty years will know at least some of MADNESS' batch of hits - They are one of the biggest selling bands in British chart history whose unique style brought them success at home and across Europe, Asia, North America and Australasia. As Associate Producers, the boys are 100% behind the show and are actively involved in the process of bringing Our House to the West End.

"We would never authorise a biography about the band: we never saw one that got it quite right. But Our House is a new story that's not about us at all and we love it! We are really proud of it." Suggs

From 7 April for five weeks, Madness front man Suggs will play the role of Joe's Dad, the absent father who can only watch on as his son reaches 16 and struggles to deal with the coming-of-age dilemmas that life presents him with.

The multi-award winning writer Tim Firth has gained praise for his work for theatre, television and film. Tim is probably best known for the award-winning Neville's Island, and his first TV series, Preston Front ran for three series between 1994-7, winning awards from: The British Comedy Awards, The Royal Television Society, The San Fransisco Television Festival, The Writer's Guild and a BAFTA nomination. Tim's new play, The Safari Party, directed by Sir Alan Ayckbourn has opened to critical acclaim in Scarborough and looks set for a West End transfer later this year.

Director Matthew Warchus is one of the millions who grew up to the sound of MADNESS on the radio. His recent work in London includes, for The Royal Shakespeare Company: The Winter's Tale (Rounhouse 2002) and Yasmina Reza's The Unexpected Man (Barbican Pit 1998). For the National Theatre: Yasmina Reza's Life x 3 (Lyttelton Theatre and Old Vic Theatre 2000/01). He was also the original director for Yasmina Reza's hit comedy Art currently at the Whitehall Theatre. He won the 1995 Evening Standard Theatre Award for 'Best Director' for Volpone and Henry V.

Peter Darling's London stage choreography credits include Billy Elliot The Musical (Victoria Palace Theatre 2005), Closer to Heaven (Arts Theatre 2001), Merrily We Roll Along (Donmar Warehouse 2000), Candide (NT Olivier Theatre 1999) and Oh What a Lovely War (NT Big Top and Roundhouse 1998).

Rob Howell's London credits include, for the National Theatre, Chips with Everything (Lyttelton Theatre 1997), Money (Olivier Theatre 1999), Troilus and Cressida (Olivier Theatre 1999) and Battle Royal (Lyttelton Theatre 1999/2000). For the Almeida Theatre, Vassa (Almeida at Albery Theatre 1999) and Faith Healer (Almeida at King's Cross 2001/02). At the Donmar Warehouse, The Fix (1997) and Proof (2002). For the Royal Shakespeare Company, Richard III (Savoy Theatre 1999). He also designed The Caretaker (Comedy Theatre 2000/01) and The Graduate in London (Gielgud Theatre 2000/02) and on Broadway. He won the 2000 Olivier Award for 'Best Set Designer' for his work on The Caretaker, Troilus and Cressida and Vassa.

Mark Henderson's credits include, for the National Theatre, Copenhagen (Cottesloe Theatre 1998/99, Duchess Theatre 1999/2001), The Forest (Lyttelton Theatre 1999), Battle Royal (Lyttelton Theatre 1999/2000) and All My Sons (Cottesloe Theatre 2000, Lyttelton Theatre 2001). For the Almeida Theatre, Phedre (Almeida at the Albery Theatre 1998), Britannicus (Almeida at the Albery Theatre 1998), Plenty (Almeida at the Albery Theatre 1999), Platonov (Almeida at King's Cross 2001) and Faith Healer (Almeida at King's Cross 2001/02). The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (1998 and revivals), The Real Thing (Donmar Warehouse 1999, Albery Theatre 2000), Suddenly Last Summer (Comedy Theatre 1999) and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Albery Theatre 2001). His credits for musical credits include the Pet Shop Boy's musical Closer to Heaven at the Arts Theatre (2001), Spend Spend Spend (Piccadilly Theatre 1999/2000) and the current musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium. Mark has won four Olivier Awards: in 1992, 1995, 2000 and 2002.

News about the show

On 10 June 2002: Booking opened for this production which starts previews from 30 September and opens on 16 October 2002

On 29 June 2002: The producers have announced that the musical Our House has been delayed by five days and will now open on Monday 21 October 2002. Also the first two previews have also been cancelled this means that the first preview will now be on Wednesday 2 October.

On 17 September 2002: The first two previews scheduled for 2 and 3 October have been cancelled, the first perview will now be on Friday 4 October at 7.45pm.

On 1 October 2002: Our House has been delayed again, and will now open on Monday 28 October 2002, the first preview will take place on Monday 7 October.

On 1 November 2002: With immediate effect, all Friday 5.00pm Matinee performances of Our House up to 6 December 2002 have been cancelled.

On 27 December 2002: A new seven month booking period was announced covering performances from 3 March to 27 September 2003. From the 3 March there will be a new performance schedule with the midweek matinee moved from Friday to Thursday: The new schedule will be Monday to Saturday at 7.45pm and Thursday and Saturday matinees at 3.00pm.

On 16 January 2003: This production received 3 nominations at the 2003 Olivier Awards for 'Best New Musical', 'Best Actor in a Musical or Entertainment' (Michael Jibson) and 'Best Theatre Choreographer' (Peter Darling). The winners will be announced on Friday 14 February 2003. Click here for the full list of nominations...

On 14 February 2003: This production won the 2003 Olivier Award for 'Best New Musical'.

On 9 April 2003: It was announced that with effect from 28 April 2003 the Thursday matinee performance will move to Friday at 5.00pm with the the Friday evening performance starting at 8.30pm.

On 19 June 2003: Early closing notices where posted for 16 August 2003, after a run of just under ten months - and six weeks short of its current booking period.

On 22 December 2003: A specially recorded performance of the award-winning West End musical Our House is scheduled to be broadcast on BBC Three - the free-to-air television channel - this week.: BBC Three, Wednesday 24 December, 9.40pm to 11.40pm, repeated the following morning 12.40am to 2.40am. (check local listing).

Extracts from the reviews:

"It started as a weird, wild idea, dreamed up by Madness, the ska band that's famously played on for 24 years. The 'it' in question came to triumphant fruition last night as a thoroughly modern pop opera. Our House is a compelling, knife-sharp affair, incorporating old Madness songs... Warchus keeps Our House speeding at a terrific state... Our House is that rare thing, an original musical." The London Evening Standard

"...[Tim Firth] is a protege of Alan Ayckbourn's, and it shows here, with Firth offering two alternative versions of the same story... and with the excellent director Matthew Warchus at the helm, Our House ought to be a hugely enjoyable hit. Yet somehow the show adds up to less than the sum of its promising parts. One Madness song is great, two of them are fine, but a whole evening of what the band dubbed 'the nutty sound' is altogether too much of a good thing... Michael Jibson doubles neatly as the two Joes and his quick costume changes are a wonder to behold, but it's hard to become emotionally involved with such a divided leading character. Julia Gay is pretty but bland as his dismayingly dull girlfriend, while the supporting ensemble desperately try to conceal the threadbare nature of their characterisation with manic mugging..." The Daily Telegraph

"...There is something fresh and original here... Matthew Warchus's incisive and imaginative production makes the Madness songs sound as though they belong to the stage... [Our House] starts a little confusingly but gradually becomes an enthralling theatrical exercise in parallel story-telling and quick-change artistry. Tim Firth's book, Rob Howell's design and Peter Darling's explosive choreography all ensure a fantasy edge to the Camden reality of an Irish housing estate and the dangerous Lock..." The Daily Mail

"Making a musical out of the greatest hits of Madness creates an instant problem: their songs all sound very much the same... Tim Firth has tried to compensate by creating an ingenious book to cover the music's monotony... Given that Firth has worked a good deal at Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre, it's no surprise his book is full of Ayckbournian moral dilemmas. But the kind of alternate choices that fuel a play like Sisterly Feelings simply become confusing in a musical... The musical groans under the burden of too much plot; and after a time the raucous sameness of the numbers begins to pall. Admittedly one or two are imaginatively staged by director Matthew Warchus and choreographer Peter Darling..." The Guardian

 
 
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