I was very happy to have been invited to one of my local amateur dramatics groups the Marden Theatre Group to view their upcoming musical of the Charles Dicken’s classic Oliver! Having not seen the musical live before I was looking forward to seeing something new and finally set the soundtrack to the story.
Oliver, tells the story of 9 year old orphan Oliver Twist, who when escaping the orphanage falls into the hands of Fagin and his boys whom take from those on the streets of London. Keen to fit in Oliver follows but, ends up getting a lot more than he thought he would. A classic tale with the support of Lionel Bart’s Music and lyrics its it one for all the family to love, and Marden Theatre Group make sure of this.
The one thing about this musical is seeing the young talent that we have today, they clearly show their love for performing and the joy of being in the show. Their energy was clearly displayed especially during ‘Food, Glorious Food’ and Fagin’s number ‘You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two.’ Rufus Arthur takes on the title role, from the moment he stepped on to the stage with the other children it was clear that he was Oliver. He had the sweetness and determination for the role, along with a gentle voice, its not an easy role to play but you could see Rufus was enjoying throughout.
Along with the young talent there was the big kids, or adults should I say. Deanna Russell takes on the role of cunning and trickster Artful Dodger, who leads the children well. In the role of Nancy was Rosie Westhrop who had a warm resounding tone to her voice with every song she sang, especially during ‘As Long as He Needs me’. The man behind her song was non other than Bill Sykes the villain or baddie of the musical, Warren Porritt steps into the cruel, feared role and does it with ease and style. He is clearly feared by the children and the adults – and rightly so.
I especially enjoyed Kenny Whyton in the role of Mr Bumble, who was excellent for the role and had the voice to suit, his duet ‘I Shall Scream’ along with Michaela Adam as Widow Corney was a pure delight to watch and they both made a great duo or couple should I say on stage. Fagin also played by Steve Saunders took on the well known role, his voice was well suited for his role which was clearly displayed in ‘Reviewing the Situation’.
Along with the principles the ensemble took to the stage excellently, with high energy and love for the show. Having not seen the show live, Marden Theatre Group was a great introduction to the amazing classic musical. Who perform it to a great standard that the whole family will enjoy. Playing at the Memorial Hall in Marden opening Thursday 31st May it performs until Saturday 2nd June.
For more information about the group go here.