Performed by Royal and Derngate Youth Theatre and Young Company
Directed by Christopher Elmer-Gorry
A Saturday matinee performance and The Royal Theatre was packed. This sadly is a rarity but word must have got round that this performance of Oliver! was going to be something special.
This will be a very short review as there is nothing to say except how absolutely wonderful the whole thing was. I could just write a whole list of superlatives and still not have summed it up. From the opening curtain and the overture from the orchestra to the last bars played as the curtain fell, we were treated to a performance that was worthy of the West End and I would have been happy to pay West End prices for. My only regret is I was able to see it just once with the Waifs cast but I have been assured the Strays were their equal in every way.
Every production has some lead roles and these need mentioning. Lauren Moody as Nancy was a total superstar. Stage presence and that voice will take this young lady wherever she chooses to go if she chooses the stage for a profession. She was quite remarkable and the star of the show for me.
Luke Nunn must have been melting under that wig and beard, but his Fagin was a joy. His interplay with the violinist Maisie Smith during Reviewing The Situation was great fun and he was word perfect during some really fast and tricky lyrics.
Our Dodger was Owen Howard and what a performance. He looked and played the part really well and was perfectly cast in the role. Even his cockney accent was pretty good and had nothing about Dick Van Dyke about it.
Curtis Sloan as Oliver was everything that Oliver should be. Diminutive, high pitched and remarkably innocent. To play this part it takes a very brave actor and Curtis owned the part.
This entire production was a total joy to watch. There was no doubt that the whole ensemble were having a great time on stage and the audience were enjoying it just as much. The elderly gentleman two seats to my right decided that he enjoyed it so much, he joined it with the singing! It’s ok, you were better and louder than him!
Kudos to the orchestra as they made a great sound and it was worthy of a much bigger ensemble than those few wedged into the pit.
Congratulations to everyone involved in the first class production and thank you on behalf of everyone in the audience for the hard work you have put into this over the previous weeks and months. Even the dog was a star!