Author: ANN PLATTEN
How good it was when entering the Foyer to see the anticipation and lively feel from the audience there and arriving to see the show.
“Oliver” is always a popular show, and Braintree Musical Society were playing to virtually a sell out on all performances which must have been such a boost for all the work and effort put into the show.
The set was a static one, changed merely by adding furniture props and the like as required, and the back cloth which resembled a London scene which suited the location very well.
The children performed well and sung all their songs with gusto. For many I understand it was their first show so well done to everyone who worked with them, and especially a mention for Ashton Reed as assistant to the children.
Fagin is the main character and so important in the story, and indeed the interaction with the children. Played by Trevor Marks in an understated manner this Fagin was more of a kindly gentleman than we usually see, but the scenes with the children were good and Trevor sung quite well. I preferred the look of him with his hat on, it gave more feel to the character than the rather unusual hair/wig.
Nancy played by Gemma Field looked good and was confident. There were some pitching in “As Long as he Needs Me” here and there, but a good feel to the number, and also nice with Bet played by Bethany Retter and with the children.
Bill Sikes the villain of the show was one scary man with Graham Everard, looking really evil. Graham’s delivery of dialogue was very good. His only solo song “My Name” I felt rather rushed. This solo requires weight on the content of the words for the audience to understand how cruel a man this Bill Sikes was.
In the part of Oliver played in such a lovely way by Luca Hogan, we had the sweet “Where is Love” so well sung, and Luca’s acting skills were very good. He did so well in this role and the audience loved him.
The Artful Dodger was rather a clever chap in his swift movements around the stage and played well in scenes with Oliver and Jack Mcintosh did well in this role.
All in the Sowerberry funeral parlour did well with Richard Cooper as Mr Sowerberry ‘ Anita Hall as his wife and Charlotte the daughter with Alice Mason.
The character of Noah Claypole rather a bully towards Oliver and played by Jack Jordan was rather good, and a great fight scene which was hilarious from all involved.
Mr Bumble played by Michael Watson, and Widow Corney played by Linda Hollingworth were a fun pairing. Michael looked just right as Mr Bumble and his dialogue was really good with a few forgotten words here and there in the duet from Bumble, but enjoyable with Linda as a very attractive widow.
All the cameo characters Mrs Bedwin, Mr Brownlow,Dr Grimwig etc all added character to this production.The costumes were very good and all fitted well.
The music all round was very good with good singing in all the chorus numbers. At times the orchestra were a little loud, especially when accompanying solo voices (children especially) and I did rather wonder if it was rather too large an orchestra for this show with seven musicians?
All in all a production which the audience enjoyed very much, and with such good support from the production team including set designers, sound, lighting chaperones, front of house and so the list goes, all led by Debbie Marks who had worked them all so well .Congratulations to you all.
A really great effort and best wishes for all your future productions.