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REVIEW: Oliver! Kings’ School Winchester
It’s a Thursday night and we’re in darkest London – or a great mock-up anyhow. There’s a low droning sound which adds to the dark and gloom. It’s the culmination of months of work for the cast and crew from Kings’ School in Winchester for Oliver!
Here we are then for a joyous evening with a cast of 80, led by those famous names and songs that we all know and love.
You will have read before on our website just how much the principals were looking forward to getting into their roles.
They did not disappoint – and in certain cases on certain songs, they were better than any adult I’ve seen.
For example, I doubt if you will see a much better Fagin than Jacob Love. Wow, just wow. A lady near me remarked about how she was transfixed by Jacob’s eyes, and I couldn’t put it any better myself. And how old is Jacob? Wonderful.
There’s plenty of opportunity for humour too, and I loved the interaction between Fagin and the violin player (Jacob Hartley) – it was a joy to watch. In fact, the orchestra as a whole – under the direction of David Clarke – deserve a bow. They were amazing.
What a star we have too in the Artful Dodger (Zeth Franco). Zeth is an amazing dancer – he held the stage all the time he was on. What presence. It’s not easy doing those back kicks, yet he carried them off with ease.
Freddie Scott was telling me beforehand how much he was looking forward to playing Bill – and there was little doubt of his menace! Nancy (Abbey Warren) is his long-suffering love, and the way Abbey poured out her heart in ‘As Long As He Needs Me’ – well, I doubt there was s dry eye in the house.
Alfie Stokes was the perfect choice for Oliver, and didn’t put a foot wrong.
I was delighted that M3 productions were involved in the set design and lighting and sound – as they have been at other schools elsewhere. You know what you’re getting, and that’s 100% professionalism.
A big mention to the backstage crew too, who got everything on and off the stage quickly and professionally.
The space between the cast and audience came into life for the cast members to escape the long arm of the law – and with the ‘Who Will Buy’ segment was fantastic as the various sellers tried to part with their wares. The Rose Seller – what a beautiful voice and poise!
I would have liked to have seen the space and centre aisle used even more though perhaps with the dance groups, as they could have interacted right up to and with the audience.
This was opening night, and I’m amazed that there were hardly any lines lost or missed cues. However, I’m sure the crew will admit a few mic problems and they will have to stop the cast tripping over stairs – and I don’t know what happened to the dog – but I’m sure that will all be rectified.
The audience loved it – standing ovation. Enough said! Well done to Carrie Lee, Arabella Brodrick and Kim Skerritt for the direction, and Carrie and Emma Poole for the choreography.
Oliver continues at the school on Friday and Saturday at 7pm, with a matinee on Saturday afternoon. £10 on the door.