INSPIRED by the music of British ska band Madness, Our House is a musical with grit, says leading lady Daniella Bowen.
Written by Tim Firth, the Olivier award-winning show tells the story of 16-year-old Joe Casey whose life changes forever the night he decides to break into a luxury apartment block to impress his date Sarah.
When the police arrive he must decide - does he run or face the music?
The uplifting tale of life and love, heartbreak and hilarity, good and bad, is set in London’s famous Camden Town in the mid 80s.
“It’s like [the Gwyneth Paltrow film] Sliding Doors,” explained Bowen, a former St Martin’s pupil. “My character follows Joe’s life after it splits through two stories, good Joe’s and bad Joe’s.
“With musicals, without being disrespectful, it’s often the music that sells the story.
“But even if this didn’t have the Madness music with it, it would stand up as a story itself.
“It’s a clever, clever script. It’s emotional and can be hard to watch at times. It expects a lot from the audience.
“But when I’m an audience member, I love to be challenged.
“It’s not your average musical which you can just sit back and let wash over you.
“If you haven’t seen it, you can’t be prepared for what you will see.”
The Solihull actress admitted she hadn’t known much Madness before joining the show, but was amazed how well the music matched the tale.
“It’s kind of weird how well the songs fit in with the story,” she said.
“The main one I sing is one of the only originals written just for the show. It’s the only one which doesn’t sounds like Madness.
“It’s a ballad and it takes you on a different route. I love singing it.”
Bowen, who plays opposite her best friend Alexis Gerred, said playing Sarah was “my favourite and most challenging part I’ve played.”
“When you do eight shows a week, you can tend to produce the same things every night,” she explained.
“The writing is so great you can’t just sit back and relax.
“It’s an absolute dream of a part.”
Our House is at the Coventry Belgrade from October 28-November 2.