Reviews for Our House, 2013

Derby Telegraph - Kevin Redfern

"FIRST SHOW SETS SUCH A HIGH STANDARD"

The first production by newly-formed company Derby Youth Musical Theatre, Our House is a confident, uplifting statement of intent - to thrill, entertain and enthral their audience. They could not have been more successful.

Based on the music of ska legends Madness, it is the story of Joe Casey, a young man whose love for neighbouring girl, Sarah leads him to a pivotal point in his life. The story follows Joe's parallel lives - one where he took a good path and one where chose the bad.

Choices bring consequences, all fully explored by a young cast (average age 15) that is brimming with enthusiasm. A large chorus brings the choreography alive, most notably in the standout sequence Baggy Trousers, lending strong support to the main cast, who are never less than excellent.

An emotional story gains gravitas from heartfelt, honest performances. Ruth Kniveton brings fire and vulnerability to the forthright Sarah, but Harry Mead's performance as Joe is revelatory. Impassioned, funny, heart-breaking and tender; he is all these and more. It is heartening to see stars in the making at such a young age.

Our House is perfectly cast, heralding great things for the future of a strong new company. The only downside? That Derby Youth Musical Theatre have set such a high standard to beat in their next production. Our House is absolutely unmissable.

Musical TV - David Allen

"I have just seen, without doubt, one of the best Youth Shows I have ever seen. It was of a professional standard in so many respects. Well what a show. This is a must see show. The cast are phenomenal - on stage there is power, commitment combined with such talent.

Three really important and obviously talented people must also be mentioned. They are the Director, Peter Waters, the Choreographer, Caroline Green and the Musical Director, Sam Griffiths. All three contributed so much to the success of this show. The stage plot and the use of the set were very effective, the dancing was sensational which has to be in part, and a big part I suspect, down to the talent of Caroline. It led to the whole cast looking so confident and well prepared in all the dances many of which were by no means, simple.

Boys and Girls danced and danced with considerable skill. There were also some excellent all girl routines which were a joy to behold and very well executed. To choose just one example was their performance of the classic, Baggy Trousers. It was quite staggering both in its choreography and performance. As far as I could see they were all in time and in step and there was enormous power and vitality.

The six piece band that I am sitting very near to is excellent. They are not too loud and are sympathetically accompanying the cast on stage. Their musicianship is very good and their performance very professional. Sam had also worked hard, I am sure, with the cast who sang really well. You could hear every word and they were, as an ensemble, very strong.

There are so many first class performers in this show and it is very much an ensemble piece but I must mention Harry Mead (Joe), Jessica Woods (Kath), Curtis Taylor-Tipton (Dad) and Josh Enright (Reecey) - all first class performers. I must mention Ruth Kniveton who played Sarah so well and what a lovely voice she had. Also her friends, Billie and Angie played by Georgia Cholerton and Larel Morgan. They were very funny but also great actors. Emmo and Lewis, the two friends of Joe Casey, were played by Cameron Macdonald and Jordan Honeyman. They played the comedy roles for most of the show and were very funny but also showed that they could play the emotional parts as well especially during the funeral scene in Act 2.

But the rest of the cast is just as important. I can't get over how well they are all singing, dancing and acting. The set, sound and lighting are of a high standard and this fine old theatre is showing off the talents of those on stage to a treat.

The lighting of this song was also important and effective. At this point I must congratulate Stephen Greatorex of Derby Live for the excellent lighting design and operation along with his other technical responsibilities. The sound was also really good which is not always the case in amateur shows.

The set was excellent, combining an upper level which was interestingly lit and at times surrounded by little stars, and I don't mean the cast! Well done to Oliver Wright and Catherine Palfreyman.

What I think made this show so good for me was that acting, singing and dancing came together, along with huge amounts of enthusiasm and confidence born out of excellent and dedicated preparation. You really would not believe that this was a new group, that it was their first production together and that they were young. I am certain we will be seeing some great shows from them in the future.

I think "Our House" is ideal for youth groups combining as it does some great tunes but also a story which has meaning and is at times quite disturbing and challenging. There is something for the young people to get their teeth into as well as having huge amounts of fun and it is definitely not a "Youth" version.

And so, Derby Youth Musical Theatre have, in this one show, established themselves as a very good group indeed and have certainly raised the bar of performance to a high level. Their only problem is, that having done that they will be expected to maintain that level but I think they will, given what I have seen tonight. Bring on the next one! I have had a ball tonight and loved every minute of it.

Well done everyone and good luck for your last two performances."

"It was the best youth production I have ever seen!"

"Many aspects were West End quality"

"A truly wonderful production"

"BRILLIANT!"



Past Sponsors