By Tim Firth
Music & Lyrics by Madness
Directed by Peter Rowe
Winner of the Olivier Award
for Best New Musical

Hold on to your Baggy Trousers…
we’re Driving In Our Car to a theatre near you!

CAST BLOG - WEEK FOURTEEN

'NOW WE RAISE THE FINAL CURTAIN, ONE THING REMAINS THAT'S FOR CERTAIN….' (NW5)

Brace yourselves…it’s the last one and it’s long!

You would think that as the end drew ever closer that things would start to die down a little…luckily (for my selfish blogging purposes) this was not the case with the ‘Our House’ gang as we entered our final week of the tour! After a much needed week off to recharge our batteries we arrived at the fabulous Theatre Royal, Plymouth for our final jaunt! With almost 2000 seats the space was immense, so when filled with an audience up on it’s feet and dancing it was the perfect way to end a fantastic show…with a bang! In a way it was similar to the end of season episode of any good box set….Tommy Cooper the Penguin (our touring mascot) was reunited with his owner (Adam Langstaff), the ‘Lewis 4 Billie’ (TM)….aka Alex Spinney and myself….on stage back story was put to bed (!) and…Alexis (Joe Casey) became a first time father to a beautiful baby boy, Zachary Elliot Brian Gerred…huge congratulations! (Also congrats to Dominique (Angie) and Josie (Reecey’s better half) for winning the due date sweepstake…to Danni (Sarah) for gaining a gorgeous new God Son and to the lovely Clive Gerred for becoming a grandad!) Bless Alexis, with all the nappy changing and sleepless nights he resorted to grabbing a quick spot of dinner from the cinema next door to the theatre…complete with luminous cheese nachos, pick n mix and a jumbo sized coke!

The company outing this week was a very serene day of paintballing which I understand was completely civilised! No bruises (Lloyd) or aching joints to speak of (Ed/Stewart) in any way! Myself (Billie), Becky (Kath) and Jo (Team Wardrobe) opted for a girlie day of pampering and new hair dos instead…no bruises or aching joints there either!!

So, down to the silly stuff…! There was much to report this week beginning with Monday evening’s show. I was mistaken in my last blog where I stated the Becky ‘broke music’ in Brighton…that crown was outrageously stolen from her by Joey (MD) who gave an incredibly ‘avant garde’ interpretation of ‘Rise and Fall’ and the ‘Coffin Exit Underscore/Funeral Music’ from his keyboard…#beautiful! The next evening involved James Haggie (Emmo) injuring his particulars on the car only to then be kicked out of it by me in my pathetic attempt to enhance the ‘Lewis 4 Billie’ (TM) love story…#sorrypal! It was an interesting rendition of ‘Embarrassment’ on Wednesday evening when Adam’s (drummer) whistle fell dramatically from his mouth leaving him to vocally improvise…if you ask me, it sounded exactly the same mate! Thankfully this was slightly overshadowed by Coco the Clown’s (Stewart McCheyne’s) head deciding to fall off at the end of the number…#oops! I am pleased to state that come Friday night everything was running impeccably when Chief Exec Sarah came to visit :)……and in other news…Adam managed to lock himself into his Plymouth bedroom…requiring the stealthy work of Dominique and her tweezers to save him (see photo)…good thing he didn’t need the loo!

So, it is customary at the end of a run to hold an Award Ceremony to commemorate the bloopers of the tour. (Tricky seeing as none of us seemed to ever have the occasional accidental slip-up ever!!) Said ceremony took place on Thursday evening at the lovely ‘Lorenzo’s’ Tapas Restaurant and was spectacularly executed by Patricia (CSM), Martin (DSM) and Coops (Team Sound)…complete with beautifully detailed trophies for each award and an inspired soundtrack! It would be unfair to list them all and would take forever…but I will say that they were hysterical and, yes, Ed (Callum) did win the ‘I’m Sorry I’m Late’ Award and the ever so green Sean Needham (Dad) won ‘Best Newcomer’! The evening did however turn slightly ugly when…completely naturally…Sophie (Julie) fell off the sofa and Jo (Team Wardrobe) managed to spectacularly ‘stack it’ on the dance floor!

Saturday matinee saw a couple of incidents that were slightly unusual!! (Last matinee - I couldn’t possibly think why!!?!) Sophie was incredibly creative with her glorious sax solos (they don’t call her Lisa Simpson/Inspector Gadget/George Michael for nothing!), Nicola’s ‘Aunty’ took a trip to SpecSavers (and Harley Street!!) whilst Al Twist’s ‘Drunk Uncle’ seemed ever so slightly disorientated in ‘Embarrassment’! We were treated to a boozy Kath Casey (BB) in Vegas, Reecey (Lloyd) gained an ingenious new ‘alias’ from Steve (Pressman) and the ‘Shaky Egg’ finally got to prove it’s full potential!! With all this excitement, no wonder Lewis (Alex Spinney) felt the need for a cheeky nap prior to the show…!

It’s been a roller coaster of fun and fantastic ‘Madness’ these past 14 weeks and I would personally like to thank the ‘Our House’ Company for giving me so much ridiculous joy to write about and to everybody who has followed our weekly bulletins for reading ‘said’ weekly bulletins! It’s been an absolute pleasure and I really hope you have enjoyed reading as much as I have enjoyed writing about this show which has been incredibly special. I’ll take my ‘South East Water’ Award and leave you with my final memory of the ‘Our House UK Tour’ which was Haggie (Emmo), Lloyd (Reecey’ and myself driving down the motorway to London listening to Radio 2’s ‘Elaine Paige on a Sunday’ and belting out Mary Poppins’ ‘Let’s Go Fly A Kite’ at the top of our lungs!! (Yes…even and especially ‘Fun Lloyd’!).

After an engagement - Mike (Team Sound) & Halinka, a wedding - Becky & Ben and a baby - Alexis & Georgia (all in 14 weeks!!) I am pooped so I will put down my quill and parchment and say thank you and goodbye from me, Natasha Lewis…aka…Billie Morton!


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The final vocal warm up…Soho Square on my birthday!! #ourhouseuktour #sohosquare #goodtimes #lastmatinee http://ift.tt/1be32Zh


Thank you for our awards!!! #ourhouseuktour #awards #silly #madness http://ift.tt/1iAFxv3

Thank you for our awards!!! #ourhouseuktour #awards #silly #madness http://ift.tt/1iAFxv3

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An Actor Prepares!!!! #ourhouseuktour #actress #dressingroom #madness http://ift.tt/1ekvSFX

An Actor Prepares!!!! #ourhouseuktour #actress #dressingroom #madness http://ift.tt/1ekvSFX

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BB (Kath Casey) flirting with her hairdresser!! #ourhouseuktour #theatreroyal #hairdo #floozy http://ift.tt/1aGsHa6

BB (Kath Casey) flirting with her hairdresser!! #ourhouseuktour #theatreroyal #hairdo #floozy http://ift.tt/1aGsHa6

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Ever so excited in warm up! #ourhouseuktour #warmup #singing http://ift.tt/1hV92cV


So we’re in and ready to go at our final venue, Theatre Royal Plymouth. #ourhouseuktour #set #simpleequation #soundcheck http://ift.tt/1f8I8fD

So we’re in and ready to go at our final venue, Theatre Royal Plymouth. #ourhouseuktour #set #simpleequation #soundcheck http://ift.tt/1f8I8fD

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CAST BLOG - WEEK THIRTEEN

'THE RISE AND FALL' (Ask Sean!)

Our much anticipated penultimate tour venue came to fruition this week when we arrived at the ever lovely Theatre Royal, Brighton…and we were not disappointed. Phenomenal audiences and a beautiful city…the only thing that slightly let us down was the ‘Sun and the Rain’ weather! This being the closest venue to London meant it was where the majority of family and friends came to have a gander at our ‘Madness’ and this included a welcome reunion with some of our Creative Team, Fran (choreographer), Ali (Wardrobe Supervisor) and Dai (MD)…..and of course, the gorgeous Teya and Josie!

There is never a shortage of things to do in Brighton with the arcades (Disneyland for Alexis), the pier, a gorgeous seafront, an abundance of fabulous shops…I (Billie) had to be physically restrained from my favourite shoe boutique…(the only thing pleased about this was my bank balance!) and Lloyd (Reecey) could also often be spotted ‘mirandering’ through the Lanes doing a spot of ‘thinking’!

As many of the company were commuting this week there wasn’t a particular ‘Company Outing’ (other than Nicola (Heather) frequenting ‘Street Thai’ most days - which was lovely!) but there was plenty of fun on stage nonsense to keep us occupied!!!….

The amusing jaunts of the ‘Our House’ clan began within 10 minutes of us entering the building when Alexis (Joe) managed to give Adam (drummer) an electric shock by placing his head between two light bulbs….’Calamity Alexis’ then continued his wreckless theme by almost driving the show car into the audience later that evening! Opening night was also slightly unlucky for Ed Handoll (Callum) as he banged his head on a rather large light whilst exiting with this gondola….and then proceeded to drive said gondola into the closed sliders the very next evening at the top of Act 2…enter ‘Super-Julian’ (Tech Stage Manager) for more gondola maintenance!

Sam (ASM) and Keisha (Team Wardrobe) had a glam outing to the hair salon, taking full advantage of the talented Brighton stylists and came out sporting sensational new hair do’s! #Billie’sjealous!

It was good news for Lloyd on Tuesday evening when he finally managed to smile in a photograph (I have evidence!), this was however short-lived as the next day Alexis managed to lock him out of the dressing room in nothing but his undergarments. (This is probably what sparked Joey’s (MD’s) speech about cleanliness during the warm up on Wednesday!) Lloyd was then reunited with his terrifying nemesis from the New Wolsey in the form of Pete (Sound Dep) who popped by to surprise him!

I suppose we are all feeling a little sad with the end drawing near which is probably why the boys chose to do the vocal warm up on Thursday whilst adopting a ‘mass-spooning’ position across the stage expertly documented as always by Dominique (Angie)….(see photos!) This promptly inspired Sophie (Julie/Dance Captain) to hold a ‘massage chain’ themed physical warm up the following day.

Saturday’s matinee was the show of Sean Needham’s (Dad’s) career as he began by forgetting his only prop (camera) in the first scene…he then gave us a ‘lyrically’ spectacular reprise of his song. (“which one?” you ask….”who knows” is the Simple Answer to this ‘Simple Equation’!) Feeling slightly bewildered he then chose to ‘Rise and FALL’ up the steps to his keyboard for ‘My Girl’ only to fall up more steps to the lavatory in Act 2! (Offstage - I hasten to add!) Poor lad! Had none of this occurred I would probably have made more out of the fact that Alex Spinney (Lewis) had a cheeky dribble in the car wash scene and Danni (Sarah) had to perform a splendid ‘Spiderman’ jump off the steps to exit the apartment!

Saturday night sported an absolutely electric audience response and we all had a ball! However, in said show Alexis did manage to give a rather ‘jazzy’ rendition of ‘Driving in my Car’ whilst Rebecca (Kath) made some spectacular sounds with her alto saxophone during ‘Tomorrow’s Just Another Day’….In the words of Adam Langstaff and James Haggie (Emmo) respectively, “That must be the mating call of the ocelot!” and “She broke music!” We love you BB! (Even though we convinced you and Jo (Team Wardrobe) that there was a mouse in the bin!)

So that’s it from me for another week, thank you Brighton!!! Join me in a fortnight (yes….we’ve got a week off!!) where I shall shed some light on the final week of the ‘Our House UK Tour’. See you in Plymouth! Bye!


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Drummer for sale! #ourhouseuktour #drummer #silly http://ift.tt/1hiMv9R

Drummer for sale! #ourhouseuktour #drummer #silly http://ift.tt/1hiMv9R

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CAST BLOG - WEEK TWELVE

IN THE RAIN

Welcome to Coventry! Yes, this week we stumbled across the Belgrade Theatre and what a week it was! Arriving on day 1 we realised that it was going to be a little cosy backstage, the Belgrade being one of our tighter venues. This meant that a couple of our larger set pieces (the car and the gondola) would have to be (subtly) pushed on (the magic of theatre!) which equated to Patricia (Company Manager) and Sound No 2 (Coops) making a glorious cameo appearance in each show to aid said operation….fully kitted out in Hawaiian shirts, straw hats and sexy flower garlands….somebody get them an Equity card!!

Due to the lack of space we also had to use the backstage corridor for many of our quick changes which cast us back to tech week in Ipswich with costumes and people flying all over the place. The Belgrade is a bit of an immense rabbit warren with the green room being located on Button Moon! In the words of Dan McGowan (Priest), “You need your passport to get to it!” On the flip side, at least we all got plenty of exercise!

There was no shortage of drama as on Friday night the fire alarm went off during the interval. The irony of everyone dressed for ‘Wings of a Dove’ in sunny 'carnival-esque' costumes being evacuated into a blizzard of rain….where else to take shelter but in the pub next door! #beautiful Thankfully the audience were in good spirits and gave a good old cheer when we did eventually commence Act 2! (They were probably in the pub too!) However, the highlight of the week (for me at least) also came on Friday night as we met the writer of ‘Our House’, Tim Firth, after the show and I was very pleased to learn that we share our favourite ‘Madness’ song……’Michael Caine’ of course! (must be the way Sean does it!!) It was fascinating to hear his take on this production and welcome to learn that the actor-musician element, in his opinion, really highlighted the piece. Glad you enjoyed! Oh, and excitingly, the ‘Our House’ gang found themselves on BBC South East News along with ‘Madness’ founder, Chris Foreman, as we prepare for our penultimate venue in Brighton next week!

In true Halloween spirits we had a spooky visitor in the form of a skeleton in the middle of the front row for our mid week matinee. (Full with glow in the dark make up which was interesting during the black outs!) However, he enjoyed the show so much that he returned that same evening to see us again….in the centre of the front row! He was trumped in the costume stakes though as our DSM Martin called the October 31st show from prompt corner spectacularly dressed as Heath Ledger’s ‘Joker’! #amazing!

We had a great response in Coventry and were particularly blessed on Saturday night with a glorious audience…however….there are always a couple of hiccups worthy of a giggle. Opening night saw Dan McGowan slightly misjudge the proximity of the wall as he wheeled the coffin into it! Alexis (Joe) and Steve (Pressman) had an unfortunate falling up stairs incident…the aftermath of which suggested that they may need a urologist to deal with them consequently! Bad times for Steve as this was followed by a beauteous umbrella malfunction during ‘The Sun and The Rain’ later that show! Joey (MD) had an interesting relationship with the transpose button which spiced things up a little and Sean Needham should learn to knock before entering!!! (That’s all I’m saying!). Alex Spinney (Lewis) learned the hard way that eating four apples (and 20 nuggets) in one day does not count as 4 of your 5 a day…might as well have had a bag of prunes! (Quote: “What’s he done now??!” - unrelated but funny nonetheless!). James Haggie (Emmo) got down and dirty with the backstage treachery as he squirted Keisha in the face with a water bottle and poor Alexis was faced with his ultimate (completely reasonable) fear of the toothbrush by Danni (Sarah), Sean (Dad) and myself (Billie) and was subsequently chased through the building wearing only a jockstrap to save his dignity…there is a video in circulation…bribe me for more details! Oh, and in other news, this week saw one Ed Handoll (Callum) sporting a particularly sassy new hair do - he puts us girls to shame!

This week’s company outing was to ‘Laser Quest’ on Thursday organised by the lovely Crystal (Follow Spot Op). This seemed to enhance the competitive spirit in all but particularly in our ASM, Sam, who was at one point spotted threatening to eat the parents of young children! (All in jest I’m sure!) At least they all got to de-stress with a good boogie later on led by Patricia…again, there are videos in circulation!

That’s it from me…join us next week as we flock to the sea side for some fish and chips, yams and dumplings (that’s what I’m having!) and sun and sand…yup…it’s time for Theatre Royal, Brighton! Bye!


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Actors concentrating!!! #ourhouseuktour #brighton #theatreroyal #auditorium #chilling http://ift.tt/1hJG5OM

Actors concentrating!!! #ourhouseuktour #brighton #theatreroyal #auditorium #chilling http://ift.tt/1hJG5OM

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Simple Equation egg rockage! @Danmagwan @thenicolabryan @joeyhickey #ourhouseuktour #shakyegg #keys #sax http://ift.tt/1cI5QLu


#ourhouseuktour meet with it’s #writer, Tim Firth…. #glorious #play #script #cast http://ift.tt/16V9iOX

#ourhouseuktour meet with it’s #writer, Tim Firth…. #glorious #play #script #cast http://ift.tt/16V9iOX

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Look who we had calling our #halloween show last night! #ourhouseuktour #joker #dsm #costume #inspired http://ift.tt/1hzbljp

Look who we had calling our #halloween show last night! #ourhouseuktour #joker #dsm #costume #inspired http://ift.tt/1hzbljp

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This guy loved @ourhouseuktour so much, he saw both shows yesterday….from the front row! #ourhouseuktour #halloween #skeleton #fan #makeup http://ift.tt/1ix6H2Y

This guy loved @ourhouseuktour so much, he saw both shows yesterday….from the front row! #ourhouseuktour #halloween #skeleton #fan #makeup http://ift.tt/1ix6H2Y

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