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One Step Beyond the usual musical ; EG Essential Guide nottinghampost.com/entertainment Daily Your daily guide to the county's entertainment scene,...

October 10, 2013

YellowBrix

One Step Beyond the usual musical ; EG Essential Guide nottinghampost.com/entertainment Daily Your daily guide to the county's entertainment scene, with Entertainment Editor Simon Wilson Follow @EG_Nottingham

Our House Theatre Royal Tanya Raybould THE 1980s was a mixture of happy-go-lucky pop songs set against a contrast of ska and melancholy.

Madness seemed to somehow embody all, ensuring commercial success and longevity with a career spanning more than 35 years.

As one of a host of musicals created following the success of Mamma Mia - in which back catalogues are set within original stories to create a musical - Our House, despite winning the 2003 Olivier Award for best musical, is one of the better yet lesser-known.

The show features many of the well-loved Nutty Boys hits such as One Step Beyond, Baggy Trousers and Driving In My Car which, with the aid of Calendar Girls writer Tim Firth's cutting dialogue, cleverly intertwine as a colourful commentary of temptation and wrong decisions in the mind of central character Joe Casey.

On his 16th birthday he treats girlfriend Sarah to an evening in a luxury apartment. The only problem is he has to break in.

When the police turn up Joe has to decide if to run away or face the punishment and so follows a story of a parallel lives, love and relationships and good versus evil set in Camden Town in the mid- 1980s.

Alexis Gerred - who portrays the two versions of Joe - is undeniably fantastic, effortlessly switching from vulnerable to villain with some pretty nifty costume changes.

Another notable performance is by Daniella Bowen as Sarah, Joe's girlfriend, whose emotive voice is unforgettable.

The inventive set by Mark Walters is modelled on Escher's drawings of endless staircases and so adds to the darkness of the production whilst capturing a sense of madness itself.

Projected backdrops depict time and place ,whilst a revolving black or white door is used to illustrate the choices made by a confused Joe.

Peter Rowe's production of this impressive musical uses a strong cast of actor-musicians to interpret the hits which works particularly well and yet, despite the infectious music, the show lacks a little of the feel-good factor of other such productions.

This is down to the deeper, darker side of the story - the musical never really shakes off an air of the morose.

It will make you want to laugh and cry but you'll be so engaged in the journey you won't be dancing in the aisles until the uplifting ending.

Whether you fall in love with the complexity of the show or not, the fabulous music will remind you of the enduring appeal of Madness.

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