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Our House November 2017 NODA District 8

Our House by Tim Firth
Music and Lyrics by Madness
Chelmsford Young Gen (CYGAMS)
Directed and Choreographed by Sallie Warrington 11/11/17

The music of Madness, one of the most popular groups of the eighties, is the format for this musical, Our House.  Written by Tim Firth whose work includes ‘Kinky Boots’ and ‘Calendar Girls’ this tells the complicated story of the two possible lives of Joe Casey.  It’s Joe’s sixteenth birthday and with his girlfriend Sarah, on their first date, he breaks into a building site near his home in Casey Street.  He has to decide whether he runs away or gives himself up to the police, a choice that will decided the course of his life. Over the period of seven years and two alternative lives, Joe deals with the consequences of that night.

This excellent production, directed and superbly choreographed by the very experienced and professional director Sallie Warrington, gave us a show that had all the markings of hard work, energy and pace. The characterisations of each of the actors had been really worked on and it was plain to see that all the cast were totally enjoying their time on stage.  With a professional set and lighting by the Civic Theatre, CYGAMS own costumes and props, nothing was left to chance. In fact it was hard to see sometimes that this show was an amateur production.

Joe acted by Charlie Toland plays both the bad and good Joe with great confidence and maturity. He sang and danced throughout the whole show changing costume 37 times.  The backstage team are to be congratulated on the seamless way that this was done. Charlie must have been exhausted by the end but it never showed in his performance.  This was the second time I had watched Charlie, after his lead in CYGAMS production 13 and he continues to prove that he was right choice for these roles.

His girlfriend Sarah (Jessie Hadley) had a beautiful singing voice and as the show progressed proved that she also was a good actress as she was totally believable in her role.

Emmo (Rueben Beard) and Lewis (Matt Wickham) gave us a fun duo who worked so well together. Again the two, who were also in 13 as a duo, gave us energy, comedy and a strong pairing providing great support.  Dan Hall, in his various roles, also stood out for me, he really has the most expressive face and stage presence, using his body well on stage. I do hope that he gets larger roles in the future.

The mean girls, Angie (Millie Parsons) and Billie (Livi Khattar) had great rapport and really worked the stage.   They both gave strong energetic performances and a good understanding of their characters.

Jack Toland as Reecey sustained his role of the bad boy throughout the show, had a good delivery and sung well.  Oliver Gardner as Mr Pressman made the most of his smaller role and portrayed a believable character.

Jimmy Hooper as Joe’s Dad and Jill Gordon as Joe’s mum were the only adults in this production and both gave experienced impressive performances. Jill has a lovely singing voice and is very expressive facially whilst Jimmy delivered his role with good mannerisms and clarity. This role being hard to play, as Joe’s dad is for most of the time dead and cannot interact with anyone. Both are to be applauded for their work on their characters.

The whole cast worked so well together, the ensemble numbers were full of energy, pace and the enjoyment showed from each and every one of them on stage. I loved the opening number ‘Our House’, while ‘Baggy Trousers’  ‘Wings of a Dove’ were great fun. The excellent use of the Union Jack umbrellas during ‘The Sun and the Rain’ added to the performance.

A superb professionally sounding orchestra led by Musical Director Bryan Cass with wonderful saxophone played by Rob Downing, really enhanced the show.

I would have just liked to have had the sound checks tweaked a bit, as sometimes the orchestra drowned out what some of the cast were singing.  Also at times the cast did not find their light and in the second half we heard backstage talking, as I presume someone had left their mike on. Lighting was also sometimes not quite spot on as Sarah, at one point had a green face when she was on the couch with Joe and occasionally cross fades seemed to be slow. These are only nit-picking things on a show that was really excellent and everyone should be so proud to have been involved in it

The award winning company go from strength to strength and I look forward to seeing their future productions Congratulations to all.

Christine Davidson

Noda District 8

Our House by Tim Firth
Music and Lyrics by Madness
Chelmsford Young Gen (CYGAMS)
Directed and Choreographed by Sallie Warrington 11/11/17

The music of Madness, one of the most popular groups of the eighties, is the format for this musical, Our House.  Written by Tim Firth whose work includes ‘Kinky Boots’ and ‘Calendar Girls’ this tells the complicated story of the two possible lives of Joe Casey.  It’s Joe’s sixteenth birthday and with his girlfriend Sarah, on their first date, he breaks into a building site near his home in Casey Street.  He has to decide whether he runs away or gives himself up to the police, a choice that will decided the course of his life. Over the period of seven years and two alternative lives, Joe deals with the consequences of that night.

This excellent production, directed and superbly choreographed by the very experienced and professional director Sallie Warrington, gave us a show that had all the markings of hard work, energy and pace. The characterisations of each of the actors had been really worked on and it was plain to see that all the cast were totally enjoying their time on stage.  With a professional set and lighting by the Civic Theatre, CYGAMS own costumes and props, nothing was left to chance. In fact it was hard to see sometimes that this show was an amateur production.

Joe acted by Charlie Toland plays both the bad and good Joe with great confidence and maturity. He sang and danced throughout the whole show changing costume 37 times.  The backstage team are to be congratulated on the seamless way that this was done. Charlie must have been exhausted by the end but it never showed in his performance.  This was the second time I had watched Charlie, after his lead in CYGAMS production 13 and he continues to prove that he was right choice for these roles.

His girlfriend Sarah (Jessie Hadley) had a beautiful singing voice and as the show progressed proved that she also was a good actress as she was totally believable in her role.

Emmo (Rueben Beard) and Lewis (Matt Wickham) gave us a fun duo who worked so well together. Again the two, who were also in 13 as a duo, gave us energy, comedy and a strong pairing providing great support.  Dan Hall, in his various roles, also stood out for me, he really has the most expressive face and stage presence, using his body well on stage. I do hope that he gets larger roles in the future.

The mean girls, Angie (Millie Parsons) and Billie (Livi Khattar) had great rapport and really worked the stage.   They both gave strong energetic performances and a good understanding of their characters.

Jack Toland as Reecey sustained his role of the bad boy throughout the show, had a good delivery and sung well.  Oliver Gardner as Mr Pressman made the most of his smaller role and portrayed a believable character.

Jimmy Hooper as Joe’s Dad and Jill Gordon as Joe’s mum were the only adults in this production and both gave experienced impressive performances. Jill has a lovely singing voice and is very expressive facially whilst Jimmy delivered his role with good mannerisms and clarity. This role being hard to play, as Joe’s dad is for most of the time dead and cannot interact with anyone. Both are to be applauded for their work on their characters.

The whole cast worked so well together, the ensemble numbers were full of energy, pace and the enjoyment showed from each and every one of them on stage. I loved the opening number ‘Our House’, while ‘Baggy Trousers’  ‘Wings of a Dove’ were great fun. The excellent use of the Union Jack umbrellas during ‘The Sun and the Rain’ added to the performance.

A superb professionally sounding orchestra led by Musical Director Bryan Cass with wonderful saxophone played by Rob Downing, really enhanced the show.

I would have just liked to have had the sound checks tweaked a bit, as sometimes the orchestra drowned out what some of the cast were singing.  Also at times the cast did not find their light and in the second half we heard backstage talking, as I presume someone had left their mike on. Lighting was also sometimes not quite spot on as Sarah, at one point had a green face when she was on the couch with Joe and occasionally cross fades seemed to be slow. These are only nit-picking things on a show that was really excellent and everyone should be so proud to have been involved in it

The award winning company go from strength to strength and I look forward to seeing their future productions Congratulations to all.

Christine Davidson

Noda District 8

About Us

Chelmsford Young Generation is a music and drama society (charity registered) for young people aged 8 to 18, established in 1968. Boys and girls work with professional directors to perform two shows each year at the Civic Theatre and the Cramphorn Theatre in Chelmsford.