Oliver and a Cast of 80
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It’s a fine life! No, really!
Abbey Warren (Nancy), Alfie Stoker (Oliver), Jacob Love (Fagin), Zeth Franco (Artful Dodger) and Freddie Scott (Bill Sikes) are pictured in a rare moment of unity as Kings’ School in Winchester prepare for the tale of Oliver!
(That’s more like it… just moments before, it was more like this!)
Carrie Lee is head of drama at Kings’ School and is directing the production: “We’ve worked long and hard on this… we started doing this back in March and it’s been pretty intense since the holiday leading up to the production. We’ve got a cast of 80 split up into various groups from the principals through to the Fagin gang, workhouse gang, dance ensemble and then a full orchestra too.”
Carrie is very pleased with her cast: “They’re really focused and fully engaged with each other. They learn their lines and have a real energy and magic about them while they’re performing. They work really hard.”
(Carrie directing a scene involving Bill and Nancy)
Jacob obviously has a hefty role and has been rehearsing long and hard too: “I’ve been focusing on everything around me, looking at others and how they do it, and then going home and learning lines.
Alfie says he almost exploded when he found out that he got the part. He says he’s excited about every single rehearsal. Carrie is delighted with how Alfie takes direction as an actor playing Oliver: “Alfie is really engaging as a performer and he has a real innocence about him as well. It’s great how he switches from an innocent Oliver to a ‘cheeky-chappy’ Oliver as well.
Abbey plays Nancy: “She’s a young woman in love with Bill, which is not great for her. She’s passionate about protecting Oliver and helping him escape. Even though she loves Bill, he mistreats her appallingly. She’s quite brave. But she’s stubborn and that’s why she stays. In the end, she sacrifices herself.”
Abbey loves her singing and dancing… “Especially Oom-Pah-Pah!” Carrie says Abbey is a joy to direct, and I remark that she’s totally in the part, even as I carry out the interview. Carrie agrees: “She always gives 100% and is completely in the role once that dress comes on!”
Freddie is relishing his part as Bill: “He’s a murderer and a psychopath. He doesn’t really feel any emotion apart from anger and hatred. He feeds off hurting people and causing them grief and misery. Nancy takes it all… and it ends with her death which doesn’t even affect him.”
Carrie says he got the part way before the auditions were even underway: “Freddie – we KNEW he would be perfect for the part. He’s a strong and dynamic performer and works very hard.”
Which brings us on to Zeth who plays Artful Dodger: “He’s fun to play because he’s cheeky and devious. I find Oliver in the street and bring him to the Den… and on it goes…”
Carrie says Zeth is able to use his previously gained talents, especially his dancing, and that he and Alfie have a great relationship together on stage.
(Oliver! is at the school Thursday to Saturday at 7pm with an additional matinee on Saturday at 2pm. £10)