Paul Johnson | 08 Nov 2013 20:23pm
Those of you that consume a healthy dose of fish will know that, here at Sardines, Our House is one of our perennial favourites. ‘Mr Sardines’ is a lifelong Madness fan and endeavours to convert anyone not enamoured by the Nutty Boys.A community project that not only would be producing Tim Firth’s masterpiece but was also inviting local auditionees was the start of what has been a great journey for all involved.
What’s the difference I hear you ask, we put on shows all the time? Well, with the run being produced in (and by) Dartford’s Orchard Theatre, it meant the cast are getting the best of both worlds. A professional Director, Choreographer and MD – not to mention the support of the theatre’s staff and fully professional technical stage management team. This is a show for the community but with the community. And what a gift it was.
As you can imagine, this is a production that has been seen around thirty times by a certain ‘somebody’ and so it would be hard not to make comparisons with the original West End show, professional UK tour followed by dozens of amateur society performances who have stepped into their Baggy Trousers and gone One Step Beyond (sorry…). Thankfully this was not an issue and we were presented with a well-designed and slick piece. The numerous scene changes were capably handled by suitably dressed cast members. The set (hired from Scenic Projects) carefully guided us through the two sub-plots that make up this Sliding Doors style love story, using the whole black and white theme (clothing, doors etc) to represent the two paths which sixteen-year-old ‘Joe Casey’ takes.
As this is essentially as ensemble piece, I feel it would be churlish to pick out individual actors as they all did such a fantastic job. There was a real energy on-stage and everyone put in their all with the vocal quality and dance numbers arguably far higher than one can often experiences in amateur productions, ably assisted by the professional band of course. It is always a pleasure when live music is fully invested in as it really adds to the production quality.
The small cliques of characters all had great chemistry and provided many of the show’s laughs. Joe and his mates, Sarah and hers; both groups embodied their characters in all their outrageousness. The original show included several extremely hard to pull off manoeuvres (for example, Joe’s lightning-quick onstage costume-change behind a wall of Union Jack umbrellas) – it it was refreshing to see the group did not shy away from these. A couple of dance numbers appeared rather curtailed, but did not detract from one’s overall enjoyment.
So, all in all a success for everyone involved. The rumour is that a few original Madness members will be attending the last performance on Saturday evening. Hopefully they will think their work has been done justice, as did the audience on the first night – a roaring standing ovation evidence of their enjoyment. Two shows down, two to go. Near Dartford? Get yourself along there and if you’re really lucky you might grab yourself a special offer ticket for a bargain fiver. Although this show is worth much, much more…
- : admin
- : 07/11/2013