Review: Oliver! at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, boasts an abundance of talent, chemistry and charisma
Oliver!, Bury St Edmunds Operatic and Dramatic Society, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, until Saturday
Sometimes, the moment cast members step on to a stage you know you are in for a treat.
This is true of Oliver!, which is being performed by Bury St Edmunds Operatic and Dramatic Society at the Theatre Royal this week.
Firstly, you can’t ignore the fact that the material director and choreographer Debbie Marks had to work with is faultless – Lionel Bart’s book, music and lyrics are a masterpiece.
But Debbie has taken that material and created her own sensation on the Bury stage: simple but effective and well executed choreography; clever use of the set; fabulous performances and breathtaking vocals – barely a foot was out of place throughout.
From the rousing opening performed by young cast members (Food, Glorious Food), the audience was swept along for the ride as the tale of Oliver Twist was played out with aplomb.
Humour came in the form of Mr Bumble and Widow Corney swiftly followed by spirited undertakers Mr and Mrs Sowerberry, while that score delivered moments of joy (Consider Yourself) and emotion (Where is Love?).
Fagin’s appearance (Chris Hempenstall) lifted the production to another level, while Nancy (Leanne Barber) added such warmth and heart to London’s underbelly – in stark contrast to the menacing Bill Sikes (Adam Stewart).
Young cast members Oliver Twist (Darcey Dutton) and Hector Duckworth-Smith (The Artful Dodger) shone, while the well-rehearsed young chorus should be proud of their performances.
In a production full of high points Oom-Pah-Pah and As Long As He Needs Me stood out, with Nancy’s vocals giving me goosebumps.
From the tight-knit chorus to the extremely strong leads, talent, chemistry and charisma were in abundance.
Meanwhile, the set, costumes, lighting and orchestra were stunning. I was blown away by the entire production.
At the end of Wednesday’s performance the packed audience rightly gave a standing ovation.
If you have seats for the rest of the run you are in for a treat. If you don’t – do whatever you can to get your hands on the few remaining tickets.