12th July 2018
The Assembly Rooms, Bolsover
Type of Production
Lianne Brunt, LisaBrunt, Bethany Thomas
Author: Joyce Handbury
Oliver is one of the most well known of British Musicals with music and lyrics by Lionel Bart and is based upon the novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. It tells the story of a plucky orphan, Oliver, who after being sold to an undertaker runs away and joins a group of boys who are trained as pickpockets by an elderly mentor.
The opening scene takes place in the workhouse and the orphans entered the auditorium from a side door making their way to the stage hopefully, singing ‘Food Glorious Food’ only to be greeted with their usual sparse helping of gruel. The children playing the orphans and later becoming part of Fagin’s gang were so enthusiastic, so confident and so focused they were just great. Olivia Jaffrey was so endearing as Oliver portraying both the innocence and pluckiness of the character wonderfully and her sweet singing of ‘Where is Love’ was delightful. The Artful Dodger, was cheekily and convincingly played by Sienna Alsop. She strutted around and was very much the streetwise but likeable Dodger. Both Olivia and Sienna wonderfully sang, ‘Consider Yourself’ and joined by the ‘gang’ delivered a super number. Jack Wilson really tried to portray the appearance and voice quality of the bombastic and strident Mr. Bumble and he totally succeeded. It was a very impressive performance, as was that of Bethany Thomas as Widow Corney. Mr. and Mrs. Sowerberry, the undertakers, were extremely well played by James Sheppard and Katie Watkins as were Charlotte Sowerberry and Noah Claypole by Gabrielle Walker and Cohan Wildgoose. Playing the very difficult role of Fagin was Jared Higgins. He delivered a convincing representation of this somewhat ‘fatherly’ villain and coped extremely well with the the singing of ‘Reviewing the Situation’. Just a shame that his youthful face shone out from his otherwise excellent costume and huge beard. Grace Randall was splendid as Nancy portraying the range of emotions exquisitely. She powerfully sang ‘Oom-Pah-Pah’ and so movingly sang ‘As Long as He Needs Me’. Gareth Elvidge, in his first show with the group, was every inch the menacing, intimidating, violent and forceful Bill Sykes. Good support came from Maddy Sutton as Bet, Gaia Hobson Pearce as Mrs Bedwin and from James Sheppard doubling as Mr. Brownlow, Cohan Wildgoose doubling as Dr. Grimwig and Jack Wilson doubling as the Beadle and in deed, from the whole ensemble.
The simple set was imaginatively designed and stunningly enhanced by Scenic Artists Andrew and Sabina Aucock. Excellent props depicted the different locations and together with effective lighting, superb costumes and such an enthusiastic cast, all added to make this a super show.
Congratulations to the Production Team and to everyone involved - ‘Consider Yourselves’, patted on the back!