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Saturday 21 March 2015

Oliver! Review

NODA's Vicki Avery has reviewed our production of Oliver!

"The opening scene set in the workhouse introduced us to Oliver, his fellow orphans and Mr. Bumble and Widow Corney, caretakers of the orphanage. Joseph Alfieri brought out both the innocent and yet determined sides of Oliver’s character and his singing was delightful.

The orphans were a lively bunch of children who sang, acted and danced their way through their many stage appearances with great enthusiasm and confidence.

Reece Debnam has natural stage presence and was splendid as the Artful Dodger.

Tim Sawers and Joanna Tripp as Mr. Bumble and Widow Corney made a great double act and performed their duet ‘I Shall Scream’ with gusto.

Whenever I think of ‘Oliver’ my first thoughts are always of Fagin, Nancy and Bill Sykes as the real characters in the story and these are three very difficult roles to play.

Jeff Hammond, as Fagin, delivered a fine portrayal of this unsavoury, yet somewhat ‘fatherly’ man. His superb make-up totally transformed him into a man older that he himself is. His rendition of ‘Reviewing The Situation’ was magnificently constructed and perfectly executed.

Nicola Thomas as Nancy, gave a thoughtful and emotional performance and her impassioned portrayal combined with a stunning singing voice was just superb.

I felt that Steve Berman’s characterization of Bill Sykes was slightly lacking in intimidation although he did look and sound quite menacing. It is a shame no dog was found to play his faithful dog “Bullseye”.

Mr. and Mrs. Sowerberry, (Matthew Huggins and Hannah-Marie Webb) the undertakers, required more depth to their characters and although confidently acted with clear diction, the over all presentation of the characters did not develop and left me wanting more.  Daniel Stride as Noah Claypole and Sarah Budd as Charlotte were cast well together and completed the Sowerberry element of the story.

The set was well used and the different levels added to the all over visual effect.

Lighting effects were imaginative and choreography though simple, suited the company well.

A terrific orchestra together with superb principals and an enthusiastic supporting cast, lead to a great performance all round."