Madness' Suggs Revisits Our House for Five WeeksDate: 31 March 2003
As anticipated (See The Goss, 27 Mar 2003), Madness' Suggs has indeed caught the theatrical bug after his recent one-week stint in Our House. He will return next week to the cast of the Olivier Award-winning musical at the West End's Cambridge Theatre, performing for a limited five-week season from Monday 7 April 2003.
Billed as "A London Love Story", Our House is a musical comedy with a fictional Sliding Doors-like plotline fashioned around the songs of the 1980s ska band Madness, of which Suggs is the lead singer. The story follows the two courses London lad Joe's life could take after he commits a petty crime to impress his girlfriend. The show won this year's Olivier for Best New Musical.
Suggs (pictured at this the Oliviers ceremony with playwright Tim Firth who wrote the book for the musical) takes over from Ian Reddington as the deceased father and moral conscience of leading man Joe (played by Michael Jibson, who was nominated for Best Actor in a Musical in both the Olivier and Whatsonstage.com Awards). He made his theatrical debut in the part on 17 March 2003, performing for one week to raise funds for the charity Child Victims of Crime (See News, 20 Feb 2003).
Suggs came to do that initial engagement through some indirect persuasion by Reddington. He explained at the time: "I've been very involved since the beginning, spending a lot of time at the show. I've always loved what Ian has done with the role, and he's always joked with me that it could have been written for me. That started me thinking each time I sat through the show, what would it be like in the part? So I finally though I would give it a go. Roll on next year's Oliviers!"
Also in the current cast of Our House are Richard Frame, Oliver Jackson, Tameka Empson, Andrea Francis and Lesley Nicol. The musical is directed by Matthew Warchus and designed by Rob Howell, with choreography by Peter Darling.
The show features more than 20 of Madness' hits, including "One Step Beyond", "House of Fun", "My Girl", "Baggy Trousers" and the title song. There are also two new songs, which Madness wrote especially for the musical: "Back in My Arms Again", the latter sung by Suggs' character of Joe's Dad.
Our House opened at the Cambridge Theatre on 28 October 2002 (previews from 7 October) and is currently taking bookings up to 27 September 2003.
- by Terri Paddock