18th November 2017
Lytham Academy of Theatre Arts
Type of Production
Author: Eddie Regan
This Company has an enviable reputation for producing excellent shows and this was no exception. The popular and well-known piece with music alyrics and book by Lionel Bart has attracted audiences over the years.I believe this is the first time I have seen a Youth Production where all the characters are played by under 18s? Many of the iconic roles are well known and Lynda Clarkson, Producer had a difficult task to cast the principals.
Lewis James as Oliver was an excellent choice as both his singing and acting skills are very strong. He had great stage presence showing both the vulnerability of the character and his feisty, strong willed side. Tom Campbell as Fagin was outstanding as the likeable rogue. His characterization was very impressive. His accent was excellent and he commanded the stage in every appearance. Just occasionally, he hurried some of his lines but that did little to mar a wonderful performance. Erin James played Nancy at one of the performances and she sang well and gave a sensitive portrayal, especially in her scenes with Oliver. Amy Campbell who played Nancy at another performance gave a different interpretation but was excellent in the role. Adam Palmer, Bill Sykes had just the correct balance of intimidation and anger and his big number, “My Name” was one of the many highlights. It is so important with this show that the smaller cameo roles are as strong as the principals.
Rachel Cadley as both Mrs Bedwin in one performance and Widow Corney in the other showed her versatility and confidence. Sophie Melville as both Rose Seller and Mrs Bedwin sang beautifully. Alicia Harrison as Mrs Sowerberry gave a great domineering and feisty characterization which was just what the role required. I really enjoyed Fagin’s Gang who always appeared to be relishing their time on stage and Street Sellers and Townsfolk helped to create the correct atmosphere of the period, with enthusiasm and confidence.
Lynda Clarkson as Director and Choreographer clearly knew what was required by all and had encouraged the young cast to use their considerable talents to the full.
The Orchestra under the baton of Chris Higgins, Musical Director ensured that the pace of the show never flagged and never overpowered those on stage. Lighting and Sound crew together with the Wardrobe Department were instrumental in creating just the correct atmosphere. I have seen two performances by this young cast today and was thrilled by both. Congratulations to all involved. If this company is anything to go by there is a great future for Theatre in the North West.