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Oliver! -May 2013

Review by NODA - May 2013

A popular choice for the new society Scarborough Musicals, which has seen Scarborough Musical Theatre Company and Scarborough and District Light Operatic Society united via a voluntary merger to ensure the future of Amateur Musical Theatre in Scarborough. This show always pleases with well-known tunes, familiar characters and plenty of scope to use children. Whilst not always keeping with tradition, with all the whole workhouse inhabitants opening with Food, Glorious Food, a mix of girls and boys making up Fagin’s Gang and a more mature Dodger, it moved along with pace and passion which showed that the whole Company were determined to put on a performance. The character vignettes created the chapters of the story as we followed Oliver from Workhouse, to Undertakers, to Fagin’s Den and finally onto the Brownlow household, reminiscent of the serialisation of the original publication of this Dickens’ classic. Bumble and Widow Corney brought out a considerable amount of humour in both their fireside scenes. Fagin gave a compelling performance and developed a good relationship with his gang, particularly Dodger. The fight scene between Noah Claypole and Oliver was extremely well choreographed and very convincing, as was the tragic death of Nancy. Sadly, the demise of Sykes didn’t match the thought and ingenuity of the earlier fight scenes. The stand out moment was Nancy’s rendition of 'As Long As He Needs Me', which showed both passion and understanding of the number. An imaginative use of the traditional proscenium stage, which was very well designed and dressed coupled with the slick scene changes using a series of benches to create the different scenes, showed the whole concept had clearly been well thought out. The seven piece band was well controlled by the Musical Director, always complimenting the performers rather than overpowering them. Of note was the tricky “Who Will Buy?” which was well executed by the soloists and ensemble alike. Well done to Scarborough Musicals for your first productions and here’s to many more.