Ariel’s House of Fun in Crawley - review

Our House - photo by Stephen Candy Photography
Our House - photo by Stephen Candy Photography

REVIEW BY Nicci Hopson

Our House, Ariel Company Theatre, The Hawth, Crawley

For anyone who grew up in the early 80’s loving the music of Madness, this was a fantastic opportunity to recapture their youth.

Our House, the madness musical, tells the story of Joe Casey (Jarrod Hopson). The story begins on the night of his 16th birthday when he takes the girl of his dreams, Sarah, on their first date. In an unfortunate turn of events, the police turn up, leaving Joe with two options, right or wrong. Here the story splits in two and follows how Joe’s life could turn out depending on which path he chooses to follow. Don’t miss this exciting show, a must watch to find out what happens to Joe and the residents of Casey Street.

The cast are full of pizzazz throughout the entire performance and sustain such high energy, even in the none stop dance routines, which will blow you away. Ariel’s production team really did a ground breaking job at creating such a realistic and phenomenal adaptation! Each role was carefully cast and each person without exception shone in their role. Even the individual ensemble characters were well thought out and demonstrated truly adding to this entertaining masterpiece. Credit to Bev Locke who choreographed some incredibly intricate dance routines. Many of which involved the use of props, such as skipping ropes, desks and bed sheets. The wonderful dynamics of which were clearly a result of many hours of rehearsal.

Each and every character in this show executed their role to perfection. Whether it was their challenging singing and harmonies, their believable acting or precise dancing, it was done to their utmost ability which enhanced the show so much. I must comment on the brilliant comedic timing between the six main characters, Joe and Sarah (Marisha Gray), Sarah’s friends: Billie (Chelsea Hennessey ) and Angie (Megan Roberts) and Joe’s friends: Emmo (Tom Clarke) and Lewis (Richard Gill) . Utterly hilarious at times, almost stealing the show with their antics which was uplifting in this otherwise rather meaningful show. Including a rather well choreographed drunk scene.

Anna Hadden’s performance as Joe’s mum depicted such realism and emotion that you couldn’t help but empathise with her throughout. Similarly, Simon Fellingham once more conveyed a sensitive portrayal in his title role as Joe’s Dad, which was emphasised by the dusk lighting. In addition, Ollie Hopkins rightfully had the audience feeling an immediate dislike for his character Reecey through his evil demeaner, which contrasted with the humorous character of Callum (Ryan Harris). There were so many other characters within the show, too many to name, but each of who demonstrated enthusiasm and talent.

Whether it was the outstanding harmonies that caught your ear while watching this brilliant show, or perhaps the clear distinction between the two-story lines highlighted by the seamless quick changes by Jarrod Hopson you couldn’t fail to be impressed. A simple idea that was highly effective showing the ‘good’ Joe wearing white and the ‘bad’ Joe wearing black to create a clear distinction between the two aspects of the story line. Incredible, much loved, songs filled with raw emotion such as NW5 and It Must Be Love, captured the audience throughout. The result of which was that you felt transported with each scene and you couldn’t help but feel that you too lived on Casey Street.

Another incredible production by Ariel Company Theatre, and waiting in anticipation for Bugsy Malone October next year back at the Hawth, Crawley

Nicci Hopson

Ariel has six established drama academies across Sussex in Burgess Hill, Haywards Heath, Crawley, East Grinstead, Horsham and Steyning.

For a free trial call 01444 250407 or visit the Ariel website. There is no audition process and everyone is welcome. In addition Ariel has its own costume and equipment hire divisions.