Date 5th November 2016
Society CAOS Musical Theatre Company
Venue Alun Armstrong Theatre, Stanley Civic Hall
Type of Production Musical
Director Marjorie Bolam
Musical Director Gillian Anderson
Choreographer Lee Brannigan


Author: Michelle Coulson

The musical Oliver has been entertaining audiences of all ages since 1960 boasting 4 major West End revivals and it remains a popular choice with both performers and audiences.

From the opening bars being played by the very good orchestra it was evident that the full house was in for an enjoyable afternoon. The production had pace aided by good use of the multi-level set ensuring that transition from scene to scene was seamless, this was further enhanced by an atmospheric lighting plot. The costumes were very good with each ensemble member portraying a different character which added to the authenticity of the look.

The adult ensemble gave good support with excellent singing and good movement and all of the company numbers were well performed and the choreography entertaining to watch; the soloists in “Who will Buy” were superb. The supporting roles of Bet (Kathryn Wilkins), Charlie (Daniel Stark), Noah (James Forster) the Sowerbys (Martin Anderson, Suzanne Miller and Sarah Hamblett) and the Brownlow household (Bill Collins, Glenis Smith, Lee Brannigan) were all confidently played.

The light hearted humour between Mr Bumble (Gerry Troughton) and Widow Corney (Kirsty Swirles) was charming; they perfectly portrayed the transition from love struck romantics to miserable married couple.

Arthur Creaner gave us an Oliver who was vulnerable and endearing and Sam J Scott as “Dodger” gave a super vocal performance and never let his cockney accent or his confident character slip.

John Davidson delivered a suitably threatening and menacing characterisation of Bill Sykes and Melanie King gave a strong performance as Nancy confidently portraying the contrast in her character’s life from the joy of “I’d do Anything” and “Oom Pah Pah” to the haunting “As Long As He Needs Me”.

As the multi-faceted Fagin, Andy Oliver gave a confident depiction of the character and his interaction with the children in their scenes together was very good; the sinister undertones of Fagin’s character being interspersed with good comedy moments.

The absolute stars of the show were the children; all of their numbers were well performed and each one of them looked confident despite this show being a first time on stage for many of them, it was evident they were loving being part of the production.

Well done to Marjorie, Lee, Gillian and their supporting team for managing a cast of 68, quite an achievement, and congratulations also to those members receiving their long service awards from Michael Hastilow the NODA President whilst in the region, especially Mary Carr receiving her 60 year diamond award.