6th – 13th October 2018
Photographs from the show by Alan Martin – see more by clicking here…
NODA – Patricia Connor, Region 6 Representative
Oliver! was written by Lionel Bart and was based upon the novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens which was first published in serial form in 1838.It premièred in the West End of London in 1960 which was followed by success on Broadway in 1963, it was then made into a film in 1968.
“What a Fine Life” (as Nancy Sings) I have when I am invited to see such enjoyable shows as “BOS Musical Theatre Company’s” excellent production of “Oliver”. The show opened with a spectacular storm scene set in Victorian London with thunder, lightning and even rain, which helped set the feeling and the character of the show, well done to the technical crew, and anyone else who had input into this scene. The expert production team of Director Paul Wilkinson, Musical Director David Wall and Choreographer Zoe Findlay, had gathered together an enthusiastic, lively and talented cast that were obviously well rehearsed, and who gave a very polished and fresh interpretation of this well-loved show. The Workhouse orphans ensured the show got off to a rousing start with the musical number “Food Glorious Food” and they obviously enjoyed the whole experience, setting a standard that was maintained throughout.
Nathan Power in the central role of Oliver gave a lovely sensitive performance as the boy who just wanted to belong and be loved, he sang Oliver’s signature song “Where is Love” beautifully I could see tears in the eyes of some of the audience. Harry Corcoran had real stage presence, he was spot on and confident in the role of the cheeky, likeable, know it all Dodger and I really enjoyed Carl Sedman’s excellent innovative ,younger and more energetic interpretation of the iconic rogue Fagin, he really held the stage and never dropped out of character. numbers. Jessica Wall was outstanding as the fun loving kid hearted Nancy, her rendition of “As Long as He Needs Me” was heart felt and you could see her characters love for the dangerous Bill Sykes, she appeared to mean every word she sang, and Leslie Longley was menacing as her lover the murderer and thief, Bill Sykes with the audience favourite the lovable Petch the dog as Bullseye, helping to round off his character nicely. Phil Power as Mr Bumble and Anne Powell as Widow Corney complemented each other nicely and had good comic timing, in their first-rate portrayals of the Beadle and Matron of the Workhouse, while Emily Blinkhorn as Bet, Nancy’s friend, was very believable in her relationship with Jessica as Nancy. Sue Hardiker was bossy and very entertaining as Mrs Sowerberry the undertaker’s wife and Alastair Johnson was suitably melancholy and grim as Mr Sowerberry her husband, and there were two very promising young performances from Lewis Christie and Nicola Powell in the roles of Noah Claypole and Charlotte Sowerberry. Ben Wake as Mr Brownlow, Oliver’s long-lost grandfather played his character with sensitivity, and Maureen Morris was very loving and protective in her portrayal of Mrs Bedwin, while Nicholas Lloyd was the comedic Dr Grimwig. The actors in the smaller cameo roles and the chorus all supported the principle cast, by giving solid performances, singing well, and working hard, they also provided a number of nice characterisations and I have to complement the soloist in the “Who will Buy” number as they were first-rate. Very well done to the children’s chorus of workhouse boys and Fagin’s gang who were very enthusiastic and appeared to be enjoying themselves immensely, there is certainly some stars of the future amongst them. Generally, diction and clarity of words were spot on and the pace of the show was just right.
The orchestra led by Musical Director David Wall was well balanced and played well, while supporting the performers on stage, The violin solo in “ I’m Reviewing the Situation” was lovely, and the orchestra had an important role in the success of this production, as did the Choreography by Zoe Findlay which was very appropriate for the type of production and was performed with enthusiasm and expertise by the cast.
There was one static very impressive set and scenes were changed quickly and smoothly by using various props which kept the pace of the show just right. There were some problems with a couple of the microphones; as they picked up interference from clothing and movement. but happily, the performers were still able to project which meant the audience could still hear them, well done to the cast members and sound engineers for coping with this problem. Costumes were well thought out and they appeared to fit in well with the period setting of the show, with good attention to detail.
Thank you very much to all involved in bringing this very enjoyable entertaining production to the stage and thank you for inviting us, we had a lovely friendly happy evening.
Champion News – Ron Ellis