English 70s/80s ska band Madness and their music are pretty iconic, I don't remember a time when I haven't busted out a few moves to their music at family discos. Most of their music which is feel good has got me incredibly excited about the West End smash-hit production 'Our House' which will be returning to Belgrade Theatre in November. It will mark a momentous time, 15 years on from its original show launch date as well as 35 years since the release of the title track by Madness.

Belgrade Theatre caught up with the creative team behind the show, including Composer Suggs and Writer Tim Firth about the continued success of this incredible show and why it continues to raise the roof, "It's a real privilege that people still love the Our House musical. I've been to see a few musicals recently and some really good ones, but I don't think many of them are better than Our House [laughs]". Tim goes on to describe that the musical isn't something that's locked in some time capsule, "I always felt the songs of Madness existed outside time, even though they started the big ska movement when I was a kid". The musical is very much a rediscovery of these timeless hits for people to enjoy, 10 or 15 years later which is great stuff. 

"I always felt the songs of Madness existed outside time" 
Bringing the combination of such hits along with a storyline that could fit within a musical Tim and Suggs agree that it was always a good fit. "We weren't aware of the fact our songs are quite narrative and we'd even sort of dabbled ourselves with the obvious" explains Suggs, "you know, we wrote songs about going to school, we wrote songs about your first girlfriend, we wrote living in the house in the street you were brought up in." There was a difficulty for Suggs to creating the musical individually which is why he gave Tim the phone call and they collaborated together to bring Our House The Musical to life. Tim wanted the songs to drive the story and create a story which fit around those songs, Suggs felt as though "it was an incredible process to watch unfold". 

Tim knew the musical could be based purely on the music "seven nutty guys turning up and going nutty for two hours". Tim believes that there was this perception that Madness came across as a nutty band when in fact their music videos "were full of comedy and full of wit but the songs were full of pure wit, which is a very different thing". Tim believes "they were bright and intelligent, the lyrics were funny and full of different colour, so I always thought there was a much deeper, more interesting, funny but also an emotional story to be had". 

The inspiration for the musical comes from the heart of the music, it's lyrics - a lot of which were about duality, the opposites. Tim said there was something about "a story that had two sides to it". The musical centres around Joe and Suggs feels as though 'there's a bit of every member of the band in Joe because the whole story of Joe is that you've still got all these choices and crossroads coming along the way and we all those in our band". 

The musical definitely packs an opportunity to sing along with some timeless hits, enjoy the music from an entirely different perspective and be swept away through a story of discovery. 

Our House The Musical stars Britain's Got Talent winner George Sampson and Emmerdale's Deena Payne as well as a collective of other incredible performers. 

The musical will be running on the Main Stage at Coventry's Belgrade Theatre from Weds 8 - Sat 11 November. Tickets are priced from £22.50 by calling their Box Office on 024 7655 3055 or visit their website. 
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