The fact that it was written by Tim Firth was enough reason for former Emmerdale star Deena Payne to sign up for the tour of the new tour of Our House.
“I know him from Calendar Girls – I was in four tours of it - and that means it’s got real depth to it,” she says. “It’s not just a jukebox musical, it’s a moral story and a love story between mother and son and son and father, even though he is no longer around.
Featuring the music of Madness, Our House tells the story of Joe on the night of his 16th birthday when he takes the girl of his dreams, Sarah, out on their first date.
In an effort to impress her with bravado, Joe breaks into a building site overlooking his home on Casey Street. When the police turn up, a split-second decision forces him to choose between himself and his heart as the story splits in two: one which sees Joe stay to face the music, and the other which sees him flee and leave Sarah to run from the police. As two very different paths unfold before him, the consequences of that choice will change his life forever.
We follow the parallel lives of Good Joe and Bad Joe which end up back in the house on Carey Street.
“It’s like Sliding Doors,” says Deena who plays Joe’s loyal mother, Kath Casey. “How often do you make a decision and wonder what might have happened if you hadn’t?
Above all it’s fast-moving and packed with energy
“But above all, it’s fast-moving and packed with energy.”
Also in the show, which features a host of Madness hits including It Must Be Love, House of Fun, Baggy Trousers and, of course, Our House is George Sampson who won the second series of Britain’s Got Talent as the local bad boy Reecey with Jason Kajdi as Joe and Sophie Matthew as Sarah.
Deena Payne may be best known for her 18 years as village postmistress Viv Windsor in ITV’s Emmerdale. but she is no stranger to musical theatre.
“I started out as a dancer in the Seventies, first on TV and then in musicals,” she recalls. “In 1980 I was in They Are Playing Our Song in the West End. I then went to Hornchurch Rep as assistant director and did more acting and then along came Emmerdale.”
That took care of the years 1993 to January 2011 when Viv perished in a fire.
““I loved Viv, I was able to exorcise quite a bit of myself through her even though I am completely different from her,” she reflects.
This is her first musical since 1989. “For me to come back has been thrilling. We’ve got a wonderful choreographer, Fabian Aloise, who has worked with Arlene Phillips who taught me at Arts Educational Trust.
“I am swinging my legs a little. You can see this person who is about five seconds behind everyone else. But it’s not bad for someone my age.”
I am a qualified Pilates teacher and a therapist and I teach drama and movement at Queen Ethelburga’s College in York.
Emmerdale brought southerner Deena to Yorkshire and she has stayed. She now lives near Harrogate with musician husband Steve Grant. “He’s writing a musical and I am doing the choreography. Our house is alive with creative energy.”
That includes the kitchen because food is another passion, both cooking and growing here own vegetables. “I’ve always used organic food,even before it became trendy,”she says. “I have written a book of recipes, Busting the Myth, which addresses misconceptions about what you can eat, what you can put in your body.
“I love nature and natural food.”
Our House is the Lyceum Theatre from Monday to Saturday.