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When everything else fails, you can always rely on Madness

WITH 'Rock of Ages' opening in cinemas amid a barrage of hype about its homage to the decadence of the Hair Metal scene in the LA of 1987 (so decadent that no one is seen smoking and drugs aren't even mentioned), it's fair to say that the concept of the 'jukebox musical' has pretty much reached its nadir.

Things were bad enough when Mamma Mia! stormed the world's box offices. They got much worse with Across the Universe, a disastrous attempt to force Beatles' songs into a ludicrous storyline and God help us if We Will Rock You ever makes it to the screen.

Some artists' songs are sufficiently narrative and descriptive to merit a reasonable attempt to slot them into some form of dramatic structure and one such act is Madness.

When it ran in London's West End for 10 months, the Madness musical Our House received excellent reviews and bagged the Olivier Award for Best New Musical.

Having more than 15 of the finest chart hits of the past two decades performed for you should keep most sensible music fans entertained of a weekend night and with a decent kitchen-sink storyline as a framing device there's no cause for concern. The presence of Something Happens frontman and Newstalk presenter Tom Dunne as an evil property developer complete with a dodgy cockney accent (he makes Dick Van Dyke sound like Danny Dyer) should only add to the fun.

And the fact that all proceeds go to Console, an Irish suicide prevention and bereavement charity, makes Our House a perfect excuse to get out this weekend.

>George Byrne

Our House is at the Olympia Theatre tonight and tomorrow