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Published on April 12th, 2017 | by voxx



Being honest, I‘ve never been the biggest musical fan. However, the Next Stage group’s interpretation of the famous ‘Oliver’ is a marvel to behold from all angles. The amount of effort put into the show is almost too unbelievable to put into words. Helen Wilson (Director) and the crew definitely had their work cut out for them, but in my opinion it paid off in flying colours.

The story of ‘Oliver‘ is a simple tale about a young child named Oliver (Charlie Holmes), who is sold away from the workhouse and trying to find his place in the world. From being a simple helper in the undertaker’s shop to a common thief with Fagin’s crew, he jumps around bumping into likable characters as well as the most God-awful ones.

The whole cast is simply charming, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some end up in Hollywood someday. Every character is portrayed in a unique light and effort just pours out of each performance, enriching the experience. Honourable mentions include Mr and Mrs Sowerberry (John Hawkins and Georgina Brikinsaw), whose personalities and back and forth chat are a joy to see. Mr.Bumble (Sarah Houghton) was a charming insight into thieving and honesty, which was brilliant throughout, along with Artful Dodger (Jade Pike). However, without question Bill Sykes (Jack Coll) was most amazing; such talent and intimidation was all in this character and my God, it was downright terrifying whenever he was on stage. I struggled to watch his violent scene as he portrayed it so well.  And even the children were amazing in every sense of the word.

As for the music, well, where do I start?! Every song is brilliantly timed and constructed. Trying to pick a favourite is like asking “who’s your favourite child?” You just can’t pick. Humming to every number just became the norm at one point. Each song devoured the atmosphere from sympathetic to outright terrifying to Nancy singing to Bill’s theme. I enjoyed the dances and pleasant voices too, especially in the ‘Who Will Buy’ song.

Even the technical crew (Chris Wilson and Chris Bouch) deserve a mention; they really helped each scene come to life with lighting, settings effects etc.

In conclusion, ‘Oliver’ was a brilliant play; well-acted, directed, scripted, and overall performed. Everyone is talented and I was sad once the wonderful evening had come to a conclusion. I would highly recommend joining the Next Stage group for the wonderful events they set up. Thanks Helen and everyone for a wonderful evening, and I look forward to seeing your future productions.

By Samuel Wood

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