Newbury Musical Theatre Society - Oliver!
7th to 11th April 2015
Review from the Newbury Weekly News.
Oom-pah-pah Oom-pah-pah that's how it goes...
A crowd-pleaser right to the last note of the exuberant finale
Newbury Musical Theatre Society: Oliver!, at the Corn Exchange, from Tuesday, April 7, to Saturday, April 11
Good material is nothing without good principals - and there are many roles in Lionel Bart's musical version of Charles Dickens' story which demand a high standard of musical and acting ability. Fortunately Newbury Musical Theatre Society have actors to fit the bill. There were no weak links, every song was performed excellently and early soloists Tony Randall (Mr Bumble) and Carol Joice (Widow Corney) started a trend of good singing which continued throughout the evening.
From the delights of the excellent Mr and Mrs Sowerberry's undertaker's parlour, to the last note of the exuberant and extended finale, this was a show to please everyone.
Two teams of children alternated throughout the performances, including the main roles of Oliver (Joshua Hogan/Luke Diprose) the Artful Dodger (Jacob Smith/Billy Wild) and Bet (Izzy Peacock/Jasmine Danbury).
On Thursday, it was Joshua playing Oliver, in a mature performance, heartrendingly singing Where Is Love? and slickly moving about the stage as he was introduced to the delights of Fagin's gang by the excellent Artful Dodger (Jacob Smith). Both boys had what their parts demanded, obviously enjoying themselves, never putting a foot wrong.
I particularly liked Izzy Peacock's singing (it's OK to smile, Izzy!) in her role as Bet, friend of Nancy (Holly Coghlan). Holly's acting ability and strong expressive voice were just what was needed, whether in the lively chorus number Oom Pah Pah! or the tender As Long As He Needs Me. As evil Bill Sykes, Russell Barrett brought out all the drama the part required both singing and acting and managed to do so without being upstaged by the endearing Bobby the bull terrier (Bullseye).
Finally, Fagin (Jeremy Mann). I can only say that this was an outstanding performance which showed how superb an amateur actor can be.
There was good chorus work, singing and movement and especially enjoyable was Who Will Buy? - some lovely singing and harmony. And those moppets in the children's chorus had obviously worked very hard to produce good results for themselves and those who had rehearsed them including choreographer Jeanette Maskell.
Director Sarah Scott and musical director Neil Streeter can be proud of this production. The hard work all paid off. This was a good show.