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After Godspell it would be Madness to miss Our House

By Mid Devon Gazette  |  Posted: January 29, 2013

The cast of Our House, who have been rehearsing the musical since September

The cast of Our House, who have been rehearsing the musical since September

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TICKETS for the latest Tiverton Junior Operatic Club production are selling well after their last production won awards and praise from many who saw it.

Our House will be performed by a cast of 40 members of the society, aged from 11 to 19, at the New Hall, in Barrington Street, Tiverton.

The musical, peppered with Madness hits, tells the story of Joe Casey who, on the night of his 16th birthday, takes Sarah, the girl of his dreams, out on their first date.

In an effort to impress her with bravado, he breaks into a building site overlooking his home on Casey Street, which is owned by Mr Pressman, a high-end property developer. The police turn up, at which point Joe's life splits into two: the Good Joe, who stays to help, and Bad Joe, who flees.

Good Joe, having stayed to help Sarah, is sent to a 'correctional facility' for two years. On his release, finding that his past prevents him from getting a good job, he struggles to make ends meet. Despite managing to buy himself a second-hand car, he convinces himself that he is an embarrassment to all who care about him – especially Sarah, whose new college lifestyle reading law is complicated by Callum, a fellow student. In an effort to keep up with this guy, Good Joe is beguiled by his 'mate' Reecey into helping stage a break-in for some easy money – he is caught and this time sent down.

Meanwhile, Bad Joe has lost Sarah, but is making a success of a burgeoning career, using his breaking and entering skills to install security systems which he then instructs Reecey how to breach. His efforts soon earn him enough money to start his own business in property development, where he attracts the attention of Mr Pressman. Now a successful businessman, he is able to swan back into Sarah's life, literally sweeping her off her feet at her college dance.

Three years later, at 21, Bad Joe and Sarah get married in Vegas, while Good Joe is leaving prison, forced to sleep rough in the second-hand car he bought all those years ago. At this point, Good Joe and Bad Joe's worlds start to collide. Mr Pressman has decided to 'redevelop' Camden by demolishing Casey Street – except Joe's mum Kath refuses to leave. This house is special, she says, given to her family in perpetuity because their ancestors helped build Casey Street.

Good Joe vows to save the house. He calls on Sarah, now a trainee lawyer engaged to Callum, to help prove that Kath does own the deeds to 25 Casey Street. Bad Joe, meanwhile, is called on by Mr Pressman to help destroy the house in a strong arm final straw tactic to get the occupant to move out. Bad Joe does this by arranging – with Reecey's help – for the house to be burned down while she is out celebrating her birthday. Except tragically all Kath wants to do is wait in the house for her son to come visit her on that special day. In the Good Joe story, the errant son returns, holding the property deeds, to find the house burning down but his mum safe; in the Bad Joe story the 'successful' son returns too late, to realise his mum was in there, waiting for him.

From the ashes of the house fire Good Joe is reborn, reunited with Sarah, whom he marries, and also with his mum. Mr Pressman and Reecey are sent down for arson. Bad Joe, having lost Sarah and his mum, is sent down as an accomplice to manslaughter. And in the final beat of the show we wind back time to where we started, the moment of decision on Joe's 16th birthday: when asked what he wants to do, somehow he knows now the right decision to make. He simply says 'Let's go dancing!'

This year's cast list is Matt Watts as Joe Casey (the hero, and villain!), Harriet Chafer as Sarah, Joel Standford as Joe's dad, Naomi Bennett as Joe's mum, Joe Taylor as bad boy Reecey, Connor Van Bussel as Joe's friend Emmo, Jack Bryant as Joe's friend Lewis, Hannah Chilcott as Sarah's friend Billie, Emily Searle as Sarah's friend Angie.

Director Kevin Behan MBE and musical director Andrew Curtis say they have been delighted with the hard work and dedication the members have produced at rehearsals.

Last year's TJOC production, Godspell, was extremely well received, scooping a Coup de Theatre award for their portrayal of Easter Day.

The cost of putting on Our House is approximately £12,000. This includes performing rights, hire of halls for rehearsals and performances, costumes, props and scenery.

Our House runs from Monday, February 18 to Friday, February 23.

Tickets are available from Twyford Photography, Bampton Street, Tiverton. Adults £9, children £7.50.

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