Oliver Schools Version)

Date 10th July 2015
Society Idle & Thackley Theatre Group
Venue The Little Theatre, Idle
Type of Production Musical
Director Emma Burton & Sara Devitt


Author: Judith Smith

~~This abridged version for schools, performed by the Junior IT Kids Academy of Performing Arts, does not quite do justice to the original Lionel Bart musical but the children approached it with much enthusiasm and obvious pleasure happily singing and dancing away to the backing track accompaniment.  This works very well on the whole but the only person who had any slight difficulty was Fagin, well portrayed  by Joe Cross, but because of all the musical pauses in ‘I’m Reviewing the Situation’ he was often waiting for the track to continue.  The Artful Dodger (Ben Hobson) had a wonderful effervescent cheeky chappie attitude about him, his stage presence was immediately obvious and was ideally cast in this famous role.  Playing the exact opposite and contrasting perfectly with Dodger was the delightfully naïve and guileless Oliver (Connor Gough), his simple singing and English pronunciation made him stand out from all the rough urchins in Fagin’s gang.  Bill Sykes (Harry Pickles) was very suitably threatening in his appearance and manner but a little more volume in his speaking voice would have made him a really evil character.  Singing and acting credits must go to Nancy (Hollie Dutton) who commanded the stage like she really owned it, her straight singing of ‘As Long as He Needs Me’  deservedly received the loudest and longest applause of the night.  All the smaller parts were well and ably played especially Mr Brownlow (Jake Hammonds Bottomly).

The set was super and very easily changed to the required scenes, make-up was good, most of the cast looking suitably grubby, costumes too were well adapted and scruffy as necessary but I do not like to see a plethora of safety pins up the back adapting the sizing of a jacket, some dresses also had alteration safety pins in full view, tacking stitches do not take that long to do and really add to the more professional looking performance!!  Also, please would the girls not wear glittery earrings – you are supposed to be portraying hard up street urchins!! - but a few more smiles in the right places as you perform would make a big difference and make you look far more pretty!!  The lighting was excellent as was the sound, rising and falling to match each singers’ voice, loud enough to hear but never in any danger of drowning out the performer.

This performance was very well received and much enjoyed by the almost capacity audience.  Well done Kids.