Our House (musical)

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Our House
Our House (musical).jpg
BookTim Firth
Productions2002 West End
2006 Japanese tour
2008 UK Tour
2011 UK Tour
2012 UK Gala Performance
2013 New UK Tour
2017 UK Tour
AwardsLaurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical

Our House is a musical with music and lyrics by Madness and one song "It Must Be Love" written by Labi Siffre and a book by playwright Tim Firth. Premiering at The Cambridge Theatre in 2002, Our House was the winner of the 2003 Olivier award for Best New Musical and has since gone on to tour both nationally and internationally to great acclaim. Through the music of Madness, writer Tim Firth explores the themes of love, family values, growing up, responsibility and dealing with losing the people that shape us.


Our House has many obvious influences including Willy Russell's Blood Brothers and the 1998 romantic comedy film Sliding Doors. Some critics have even called the show the British answer to Rent, the Jonathan Larson rock opera which follows the lives of a group of 20-something year-olds living in New York. For many years prior to the creation of Our House, Madness had been considering ways that they could turn their songs into a musical. Following the phenomenal success of Mamma Mia!, featuring the music of ABBA, a new interest in so-called 'jukebox musicals' began to develop.

During initial publicity for the show in 2002, The band's lead-singer, Suggs admitted in an interview for the BBC that he was not particularly a fan of musical theatre, saying; "I can't say I'm a huge fan of musicals. I like music, and I like acting. I like Oliver!, I went to see that when I was a kid and West Side Story and maybe a few little bits and pieces over the years, but no, not a huge fan of musicals, no."[1] Tim Firth was approached by producers to write the script for the show, accepting the offer as he was a fan of Madness. Speaking to What's on Stage in 2002, Firth commented; "I'd always thought there was an irony that everyone remembered Madness as the nutty boys, but that was generated largely by the videos. The songs were actually just witty. And moving. And about something. And felt like they were part of a musical already. I still don't think I wrote the book of Our House. I found it.".[2]

Production history[edit]

Original West End Production[edit]

Our House was first staged at the Cambridge Theatre in the West End from 28 October 2002 to 16 August 2003.[3][4][5] Michael Jibson made his professional debut as Joe Casey and was nominated for a 2003 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical.[6][7] Direction was by Matthew Warchus with choreography by Peter Darling. For a time, the production team struggled to find a performer suitable to play Joe's love interest, Sarah. The problem was solved when Michael Jibson suggested Julia Gay, his classmate at Guildford School of Acting. Madness' lead-singer Suggs was cast for a short period in the role of Joe's Dad, a role which was also played by prolific stage actor Ian Reddington.

The production won the 2003 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical.[7] However, due to poor ticket sales it closed after less than 10 months.

UK tour[edit]

A UK revival started at Birmingham Repertory Theatre and continued on a UK tour in 2008, with Chris Carswell playing the lead role of Joe Casey.[8][9] In 2008/2009 it played cities from Stoke in July 2008 to Crawley in March 2009.[10]

The touring production changed aspects of the show in reaction to criticism of show's début in the West End. House of Fun was replaced with "Los Palmas 7" as the opening of the show. "Sarah's Song" was also replaced with the new Madness hit "NW5".

UK Gala Performance[edit]

Our House returned to London's West End on 11 November 2012 for a one off Gala performance at Savoy Theatre. The performance was directed by the shows original director Matthew Warchus in aid of Help for Heroes. Suggs played the role of Joe's Dad in the production.

International productions[edit]


A new production of the show toured Japan in July 2006, starting in Tokyo.

The show was performed in Ramat Gan, Israel, by the Beit Zvi Company in May 2010.


In May 2014 it premiered in Australia in a production by the University of Melbourne Music Theatre Association (UMMTA).[11] It was then performed by the Regional Institute of Performing Arts in 2015, from 10 to 12 December at the Newcastle Civic Playhouse.

2013 UK Tour[edit]

The New Wolsey Theatre Company, based in Ipswich, toured the UK with a production of Our House, starring Alexis Gerred, Daniella Bowen & Steve Dorsett in Autumn 2013.

2015 UK Fringe Production[edit]

Directed by Michael Burgen at the Union Theatre, London, the musical ran from 19 August – 12 September. Starring Steven France as Joe and Ailsa Davidson as Sarah. Choreography by Will Whelton and musical direction by Richard Baker.[12]

The full 2015 cast: Steve France as Joe Casey, Dom Brewer as Joe's Dad, Ailsa Davidson as Sarah, Sally Samad as Kath Casey, Joseph Giacone as Emmo, Joe Ashman as Lewis, Jay Osborne as Reecey, Rhys Owen as Mr Pressman, Claire Learie as Billie and Chanice Alexander-Burnett as Angie. Other cast members include: Zachary Worrall, Alice Baker, Rachel Capp, Reece Kerridge, Lauren Dinse, Paul Flannigan and Joanna Bird.

2017 UK Tour[edit]

Directed by James Tobias and produced by Immersion Theatre & Damian Tracey Productions, Our House started touring on 10 August 2017 at the Lyceum Theatre, Crewe and ended on 25 November 2017 at the Wycombe Swan, High Wycombe. The musical called at various towns and cities throughout the UK including Swansea, Portsmouth, Sheffield, Blackpool, Coventry, Hastings, Weymouth, Glasgow and Bromley. This production starred George Sampson as Reecey and Deena Payne as Kath Casey, along with Jason Kajdi as Joe Casey, Sophie Matthew as Sarah and Callum McCardle as Joe's Dad. The show's choreography was by Fabian Aloise.


The story follows Camden lad Joe Casey who, on the night of his 16th birthday, makes a decision that will change his life. Trying to impress Sarah, the girl of his dreams, Joe breaks into a building development overlooking his home on Casey Street. But things take a turn for the worse as the police turn up. Joe's life splits into two; the Good Joe who stays and gives himself up and Bad Joe who flees and leaves Sarah to run from the police.

Our House follows the two paths that Joe's life could take after that fateful night; one path means a criminal record and social exclusion, while the other will lose him the girl that he loves. Over a period of seven years and two alternative lives Joe deals with the consequences of that night. Whilst one Joe fights to keep Sarah, the other is marrying her in a glitzy Vegas wedding and, ultimately, while Good Joe fights to save his house on Casey Street, Bad Joe is determined to demolish it with tragic consequences. All this is watched over by Joe's deceased father, who pulls the two stories together.

Original cast[edit]

Sources: Guide To Musical Theatre[13] Tim Firth[4]

Original production team[edit]

Musical numbers (Original West End production)[edit]

Musical numbers (2008 UK Tour)[edit]

‡ Song originally by Labi Siffre

Recording and video[edit]

The recorded original production was telecast on BBC Three in December 2003 and was released on DVD on 1 November 2004.[14]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original London production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2003 Laurence Olivier Award Best New Musical Won
Best Actor in a Musical Michael Jibson Nominated
Best Theatre Choreographer Peter Darling Nominated


  1. ^ Shenton, Mark. "'Our House' (Cambridge Theatre)" bbc.co.uk, 1 November 2002
  2. ^ "20 Questions With...Tim Firth". What's on Stage. 29 April 2002. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  3. ^ History of the musical Our House Archived 10 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b Our House timfirth.com, accessed 16 March 2016
  5. ^ Spencer, Charles. "Maddeningly merry" The Telegraph, 30 October 2002
  6. ^ Tim Firth's website – summary and reviews of Our House
  7. ^ a b "Olivier Awards, 2003" olivierawards.com, accessed 16 March 2016
  8. ^ writer Tim Firth talks to What’s On Stage whatsonstage.com (cached), 6 June 2008
  9. ^ Our House listing, 29 May 2008 – Sat 21 Jun 2008 birmingham-rep, retrieved 2 March 2010
  10. ^ [1] maddogs1.blogspot.com
  11. ^ [2]
  12. ^ Cole, Emily.Our House whatsonstage.com, 21 July 2015
  13. ^ Our House at guidetomusicaltheatre.com, accessed 16 March 2016
  14. ^ " Our House – The Musical: BBC3 cast list" bbc.co.uk Archived 31 January 2005 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]