3rd – 10th October 2015
Photographs from the show by Alan Martin – see more by clicking here…
NODA – Patricia Connor, Region 6 Representative
I have seen Lionel Bart’s musical “Oliver” on many occasions and also been a member of the cast, so I went to see BOS’s production of this well-known iconic musical thinking I knew exactly what I was going to see, however I was very much mistaken as this excellent dynamic and sometimes dramatic production directed by Liz Clarke gave us some very exciting interesting interpretations of those wonderful characters that we all know so well. There were no weak links in this very talented cast which included Thomas Corcoran who was very strong and secure in the central role of Oliver and Lucas Frost was excellent as the likeable cheeky Artful Dodger. Charlotte Webster as Nancy was a joy to watch and her outstanding performance in the role of Nancy was played with a maturity that belied her age, her rendition of “As Long As He Needs Me “was stunning. Jamie Lester brought to life the unscrupulous Fagin superbly, he understood this character very well and Carl Sedman transmitted an air of danger and intimidation which was just right for the role of Bill Sykes. One of the surprises of the night was Ian Lawson as Mr. Bumble, whose brilliant comic timing and funny facial expressions brought a new perspective and life to the role, he was splendidly complimented by Patricia Tissot as Widow Corney, their rendition of “I Shall Scream”was very comedic and well-acted. Nick Lloyd as Mr Sowerberry the undertaker and Anne Powell as his wife Mrs Sowerberry both played their parts well and were suitably dour. There were other strong performances from actors in supporting roles which included Steve Coghlan as Mr Brownlow, June Beswick as Mrs Bedwin. Lauren Millar as Bet, Alistair Johnson as Dr Grimwig, Laura Boylan as Charlotte, Richard Michell as Noah and Euan Parks as Charley Bates. We must not forget the little star of the show namely Fleur the dog as Bullseye who’s behaviour appeared impeccable, she was a huge hit with the audience.
Accents were very good and diction was very clear meaning the story could be followed easily. The important chorus of children were well trained, organised and appeared to be enjoying themselves immensely and along with the adult chorus worked hard with lots of enthusiasm, the quality of the singing from both the adults and children was excellent. Choreography by Karen Parkinson was very good, well thought out and suitable for the production, it was also executed very well by the cast. The Orchestra led by Musical Director Charles Moss played excellently and supported the actors singers and dancers on stage very well.
The set took us back to the London of Charles Dickins and most of the scene changes were done on an open stage with clever use of sound and lighting, however just a couple of small constructive points, I did feel that one or two of the lighting cues were a little late and the occasional sound effect encroached slightly on the dialogue, although having said that the technical and back stage crew did an excellent job adding to the Dickensian atmosphere and the success of this production, so well done. Costumes were just right for the show and the period and I am sure must have helped the cast with their characterisations.
Congratulations must go to Liz Clark for bringing to the stage a reinvigorated excellent production of a well-known musical and well done to all involved in this show. Thank you for inviting us we hope to see you for your next production.
Champion News – Ron Ellis
IF you want to get children and teenagers interested in performing in the theatre, forget the plays and put on a musical. That is the message that comes from this latest production from the esteemed BOS Musical Theatre Company (previously known as Birkdale Orpheus).
No less than 27 youngsters took part in this revival of Oliver, one of the all-time great musicals and one which the company last performed on the larger stage of the Arts Centre in 2002.
Thomas Corcoran starred as the polite orphan, Oliver Twist, who dares to ask for more food from workhouse boss, Mr. Bumble. Ian Lawson played Bumble as a humorous rather than a frightening figure, flirting coyly with Widow Corney (Patricia Tissot with a wonderful Cockney accent).
Bumble sells Oliver to an undertaker, Mr Sowerby. Nick Lloyd, was strangely reminiscent of Graham Norton as the ingratiating coffin filler while Richard Michell sneered convincingly, like a 19th century punk rocker, as his assistant, Noah Claypole.
Despite being dressed in rags, Lucas Frost as The Artful Dodger looked far too posh to be an East End urchin but Jamie Lester, with his rasping voice, straggly hair and white nose, certainly epitomised the image of Fagin who incorporates Oliver into his gang of young pickpockets.
Steve Coghlan was suitably authoritative as the compassionate Mr Brownlow, who takes on Oliver against the advice of his physician, Dr. Grimwig, a role hammed up by Alistair Johnson. Carl Sedman shone as Bill Sykes, the one really nasty character in the whole show. Even the dog (Fleur as Bullseye) looked frightened of him as he dragged her up the steep steps.
As Nancy, Charlotte Webster gave a lovely rendition of As long as he needs me before being beaten to death by Sykes.
Charles Moss directed the 12-piece orchestra through Lionel Bart’s tremendous score, and the choreographer was Karen Parkinson who allowed the children to show off their promising talent and the cast to display a dazzling array of costumes which shone against the dark set. Liz Clark directed the show with her usual aplomb.
Oliver runs until this coming Saturday (October 10) at the Little Theatre. The next BOS production is to be 42nd Street in May 2016, followed in October by that perennial favourite, Annie.
Star Rating. 7 out of 10. Always a pleasure to hear Lionel Bart’s superb score.