11th March 2016
The Brentwood Theatre
Type of Production
Author: Tessa Davies
Oliver! Is a perennial favourite with societies, because it will always fill the theatre. It’s nice to note that the ticket sales for this production went so well that they put on an extra performance.
Presenting this show in this theatre is a challenge and the scenery for this production was excellent, very cleverly designed to maximise the small space. It looked very effective and worked extremely well. Thanks, not only to the designers but to the three or four ladies who did all the scene changes. They were very slick and got everything in the right place in good time.
On the evening I watched the show I saw the Twisters team of children and very good they all were too. Some nice little performances form the individual children and the chorus numbers were beautifully performed. I am sure that the other two teams of children were equally as good. Oliver was played by Hamish Baumber and he has a lovely voice, plenty of confidence and gave a nice all round performance. Jack Beazley played Dodger and, although he was a little tentative to start with, he settled into the part as the show moved on.
Bob Southgate (Mr Bumble) and Gail Carpenter (Widow Corney) made a nice comedy pairing, although I thought the performances veered towards pantomime, but still enjoyable to watch. Mark Clements (Mr Sowerberry) and Annabel Lowman (Mrs Sowerberry) were the other excellent pairing in this show. Both gave strong performances with plenty of characterisation. Tia Warboys (Charlotte) and Harry Reeves (Noah Claypole) gave good supporting performances.
Director Wayne Carpenter played Fagin as a likeable rogue, which was exactly how it should be, however taking such a prominent part in the show and directing it too must have been difficult to co-ordinate. Sian Hopwood played Nancy, a very feisty characterisation and a lovely singing voice. Andy Prideaux played Bill Sykes well, although I would have liked to see him nastier and more vicious than he portrayed.
Adam Popplewell (Mr Brownlow) Fiona Whittaker (Mrs Bedwin) and Jon Keeler ( Dr Grimwig) completed the line-up of Principals with some very well observed performances. The Ensemble were excellent, their singing was beautiful, so well done to Andy Prideaux for his work as the MD.
As is always the case with this show, there is a lot of work for the ensemble to do and they were worked hard to give good, interesting performances.
Costumes were excellent and the lighting was very well designed and beautifully executed. It is lovely to see full houses for any society so well done the Billericay for another entertaining show.