10th March 2018
Scunthorpe Musical Theatre Society
The Plowright Theatre
Type of Production
Author: Jo Sykes
Scunthorpe Musical Theatre Society should be congratulated on their excellent production of Oliver! This popular musical also involved members of JOPSOX (the junior society) and it was wonderful to see such a cross generational production work so well which was no doubt a result of much hard work by the Director, Jacky Bacon.
I was hugely impressed by all the characterisation – Mr Bumble (Dave Arrand) and Widow Corney (Clare Prior) were a hilarious couple and I very much enjoyed the portrayal of Mr and Mrs Sowerberry by Phil Green and Jo Hageman, whose dour comedy enhanced the scene at the undertakers. Nancy (Helena Hucklesby) and Bet (Eleanor Pepper) were well paired and together performed some excellent numbers. Zack Hargreaves was electrifying in the role of Bill Sikes, his whole demeanour was frighteningly aggressive and I particularly enjoyed ‘My Name’ which is not usually a favourite of mine.
Huge plaudits must go to the young people in the production – whether as orphans, Fagin’s Gang or children in the street – they all did an excellent job in their roles singing, dancing and acting to a very high standard. I really enjoyed Kyai Calver’s lively portrayal of ‘Dodger’ and Sammy Collins was super as the naïve, young Oliver. I understand that Oliver Fray, with whom he shared the role, was equally as impressive. Ron Moody, who was best known for his portrayal of Fagin, said that that the secret to playing this character is actually ‘mischief’ and John Parsons captured this perfectly in the role working very well with the younger cast members. I really enjoyed the scenes in The Thieves Kitchen where the well-choreographed routines couldn’t fail to hold the audience’s attention.
The chorus and all other characters worked really hard to give us a super production that they appeared to thoroughly enjoy being part of. Clever choreography by Sophie Haigh ensured that all the movement around stage contributed to the overall performance. Additionally the dances were broken down so that everyone was included, but there were more difficult elements performed by some very talented dancers.
The nine piece orchestra, led by MD Liam Fletcher, supported the cast perfectly and really added to the atmosphere of the production in both production numbers and with incidental music. The quality of sound and light across the production was very good.
Once again a less prominent group in the society did a fabulous job – WeDoItInTheDark.com - the stage crew at SMTS are really wonderful. They changed scenes with ease and ensured that all props and furniture were where they needed to be – I feel they really contributed to the pace of the show which was excellent. They also designed and built the very professional set and together with the super properties really added to the production– very well done.
Director Jacky Bacon deserves great praise for her work in directing this large cast to bring together a great production full of energy and enthusiasm which the capacity audience clearly enjoyed.