Stage Experience: Our House
Grand Opera House, July 30
I honestly don’t know where to start with this. I’m still bouncing from the performance. Do I tell you what an impressive performance this bunch of 11-18 year olds put on, or that they only had two weeks of rehearsals?
What I will tell you is that you’d never have guessed either how young some of this cast are or how little preparation time they had because their performance was outstanding.
I’m going to be hard pressed to give credit where it’s due on this show as so many people stood out for me, and it’s definitely one of the largest casts I’ve seen on this small stage.
I struggled a little with the first half, but that I think was getting around the idea of the story being told in two parts simultaneously.
It starts with Joe having to make a decision, and then shows you what will happen on both paths. They use a lot of black and white to illustrate this, so Joe in black is bad Joe, Joe in the white tracksuit is good Joe.
I read in the programme that this musical is in the Guinness Book of Records for an actor having to make the fastest costume changes. That figures.
At one point I couldn’t figure out how Joe was doing it. The wonders of Velcro soon became apparent, but it didn’t take away from the awe-inspiring changes in any way.
This show was absolutely jam packed with talent, enthusiasm and energy. By the end of the second half I was worn out, and I was only watching!
It was great to see some familiar faces from York’s youth theatre scene in the show, they’re growing up so quickly, but along with that comes even better more polished performances and I wasn’t disappointed.
I’ve often complained that at the Grand Opera House the orchestra drowns out the voices of the singers. That wasn’t the case in this show. Both orchestra and performers blended together to offer an amazing sound experience.
All of the lead singers had fantastic, strong and clear voices. I honestly couldn’t pick one over the other, as they were all so different and yet so talented.
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There’s plenty of humour in the storyline. Luckily some of the more adult jokes went straight over my 11-year-old’s head. Either that or I’m in for answering some awkward questions tomorrow.
There were references to musical condoms, sex shops and a Femidom. With a cast this young I wonder if they understood some of the lines?
Certain scenes really showcased the young talent, one being the last day of school. To the accompaniment of Baggy Trousers the stage was filled to bursting with cast members dancing, leaping, flipping and doing the splits.
How they didn’t smash into each other I don’t know, but it showed how much effort had been put into the choreography that I never saw one near miss all night.
The scene with the half car was hilarious. A moving screen at the back of the stage giving the illusion of movement along a country road, but watch it closely for a surprise – my daughter spotted it before I did. Meanwhile the cast bounce up and down mimicking movement.
Another scene involves a duet with Sarah and Joe on a park bench, they take it in turns to sing. One talks, ignored by everyone, whilst the other sings solo to It Must Be Love. It was flawless.
It’s a hugely entertaining show. Don’t rush off when the curtain finally falls on the energetic finale as you may miss a treat. Musical director Adam Laird in his red fez conducting away extremely enthusiastically to a medley of Madness favourites.
He certainly wowed the audience members that were left, almost but not quite stealing the limelight from the cast.
So to Christian Calgie, Claire Wimbush, Jasper Hill, Tom Baarda, Sam Rippon, Megan Elsegood, Jasmine Ward, Caitlin Calgie, Lizzie Nunn, Asheley Woellner and Connor Mellor – you did an amazing job.
From the soulful solos of a dead father to his son, to the comedic interchanges between the three stooges who were Joe’s best friends and the haunting melodies of a lovelorn bride/ girlfriend.
To the huge supporting cast, I was impressed.
And finally, Reece McMahon as Joe Casey. You rocked it Reece.
The shows on at the Grand Opera House until Saturday and you’d be mad to give this one a miss.