Performed at Witham Public Hall on the 29th October 2013
Director and Choreographer: Nikki Mundell-Poole
Musical Director: Geoff Osborne
This was a really excellent production full of life, colour and commitment from a very large cast. The entire stage in the large ensemble numbers was filled with both the young people and adults all involved in very well drilled choreographic routines. Everyone on the stage was totally involved with putting these lively numbers across in a really effective and stunning form.
We had some excellent principals cast in this show in each and every character, and a well balanced chorus; also cameo roles all adding to the high standard overall.
A delightful Oliver played by winsome Charlie Smith to a very confident Max Lenoir as the Artful Dodger together with Fagin’s gang were confident and a pleasure to watch. Fagin played by George Lambeth was the nearest lookalike I have seen to Ron Moody and his costume and hat and make up were spot on in every respect. George’s facial expressions and manner added much to this central character in the production. All the musical numbers in The Thieves Kitchen were enjoyable and well timed.
Nancy, played by Robyn Harrington, looked so right in this part; very sensitively played in her dialogue and affection towards Oliver but a defiant side came through in standing up to Fagin and the burly Bill Sykes played by Patrick Willis. His song “My Name” was quite a modern rendition of this number, which I liked, part sung-part spoken. Maybe the song was not as heavy as it could have been but we all got the message he was a “Bad Un”.
The pairing of Mr Bumble and Widow Corney from Tim Clarke and Liz Watson was fun. Mr Bumble made the most of his constant indigestion to good effect. The pair played their characters very much in “Pantomime Mode” but lots of experience came through from two seasoned players. Well done.
The Undertakers scene with Mr & Mrs Sowerberry played by Deborah Anderson and Richard Herring together with bully-boy Noah Claypole and the put upon Charlotte was very well played with great timing. “Who will Buy”,a very well known number, was confidently sung and well staged.
All the children and young people lit the stage with each entry. Great costumes and sets, together with super lit sets and sound, added so much to a very polished performance all round. I really liked the final scene, which was Fagin and Artful Dodger on London Bridge going off into the sunset. It gave a delightful end to the production.
Good tempi from Geoff and his Orchestra (if a TAD loud here and there) making all the music push along at an infectious pace.
Well done for all the work on and off the stage from Nikki and Geoff and all the Production team for a show to be very proud of, and a most enjoyable evening’s entertainment.
Review by Ann Platten, NODA East, District 11
Witham Amateur Operatic Society
Witham Public Hall
October 28 - November 2
Why more's never enough when it comes to Oliver!
I MUST have seen more versions of Charles Dickens' story than any other, whether the film or television adaptations of the original book, or the film and stage versions of Lionel Bart's musical interpretation.
Why, then, do I keep saying: I want more?
Well, partly the sparkling score, from the bright and bouncy “Got To Pick a Pocket” and “Consider Yourself”, to the moving “As Long As He Needs Me” and the lush and poignant “Where Is Love” and also, because of the range of vivid characters, running the gamut from the angelic Oliver to the arch villain Bill Sikes, a man with no saving graces. It is these characters that have allowed actors to shine over the years, and WAOS are no exception.
Charlie Smith accurately captures the innocence of the title character but is not afraid to show his range and versatility in the wider scenes. Max Lenoir is the ideal Artful Dodger, all cheek and self-confidence, and George Lambeth's Fagin is the epitome of slyness and cunning. Robyn Harrington's Nancy is powerful and believable while Patrick Willis's growling Sikes is the ultimate in menace.
There is strong support from Tim Clarke, unrecognisable behind Mr Bumble's hat, wig, facial hair and padding, Richard Herring and Deborah Anderson as the Sowerberrys and the captivating Alice Tunningley as a very young Bet.
But this was above all an ensemble show, with a cast of around 60, nearly half of them children. That director Nikki Mundell-Poole managed to coax them all into meaningful patterns in the complex production numbers was something of a minor miracle. .
But the weight of numbers added to the spectacle in a show bubbling over with bonhomie that played to packed houses all week and thoroughly deserved to do so.