In the gallery: Oliver!

 

Tuesday 25th June - Saturday 29th June 2013

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Oliver!

The Lowestoft Players

25th June 2013

The Marina Theatre

 

Opening night of The Lowestoft Players production of Oliver and upon reading the programme, I discovered that

this is the 3rd time the society have performed this popular musical.As soon as the curtain rose, I could see why

it had been such a popular and well-received show for the group in the past. The stunning scenery, complimented

by creative lighting effects and realistic costumes, transported the audience right back to Dickensian London.

Attention to detail was second to none; from the grubby workhouse assistants with yellowed teeth to the ashen

faced orphans in the opening scene, paving the way for what was a gritty and authentic portrayal of the family

musical.

Lionel Bart’s score was brought to life by a note perfect 16 piece orchestra; with some fantastic vocal and

character performances given by Jo Forster; playing the role of  ‘Nancy’ and John Marjoram as leader of the

pickpockets ‘Fagin’.

Impressive performances were also delivered by George Wing, playing The Artful Dodger; Stephen Clark, in the

role of Bill Sikes, who not only left those on stage trembling, but many an audience member too during his menacing

rendition of ‘My Name’, and of course by Lowestoft Players stalwarts Deanne Dickson; playing Widow Corney

andStephen Wilson; playing Mr Bumble, providing some light comic relief during a gritty interpretation of this well

known musical.

But of course particular mention must go to the children who played the workhouse orphans, Fagin’s Gang and the

lead role of Oliver Twist. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house during 11 year old Tom Scoggin’s

performance of ‘Where is Love?’ and there was charm and cheek aplenty during the delightful ‘I’d Do Anything’

and ‘Be Back Soon.’

This is a theatrical treat for audiences young and old and a fantastic opportunity to see a production well worthy of

the west end stage right here in Lowestoft.

Oliver! is on at The Marina Theatre nightly at 7.30pm until Saturday 29th June, with an additional matinee

performance at 2.30pm on Saturday 29th also. Tickets are available from The Marina Theatre Box office on 01502

533200.

Laura Butler

 

THE LOWESTOFT PLAYERS   -  OLIVER!

Marina Theatre 26/27th Jun 2013.

Director, Lauren Major.  MD Stella Brownsea, (Asst MD Stephen Brown) Choreographer, Anna Goodhand

 

  This Society is planning to form a youth theatre group….well this show came with a ready made membership!

Two teams of fourteen youngsters playing Fagin’s Gang and Workhouse Orphans were immaculate in their

performances making their quite complex movements and singing seem effortless. I could not spot a single step

out of place or a line from their songs not sung with gusto and conviction. Perhaps their appearance was a trifle

too immaculate and a little more dirt and grime may have been appropriate, but if this talented bunch are the

future for Players productions then it is one to look forward to!

 

Especially if the outstanding performances for the shared role of Oliver are anything to go by:  Real future promise

from two very talented youngsters (from an audition of nearly 100 hopefuls!). With three shows each and every

inch an Oliver (Thomas Major, age 11) was angelic in manner, style and high quality singing with an excellent stage

presence and rapport with his on stage role partners. Oliver (Tom Scoggins, age 10) was equally at home and had

a younger cute factor which added to his demeanour and youthful singing voice. Both gave storming performances

belying their age and received well deserved standing ovations every night. Their solo number ‘Where Is Love’

brought a tear to the eye and ‘Who Will Buy,’ shared with the company, was a real audience pleaser. The Company

was, as usual with The Players, packed with talent and each as required stepped up to show their quality in depth

enhancing the overall professionalism of  Lowestoft Players shows.

 

  Now of course there were more than a few adult roles ‘to die for’, and Bill Sykes (Stephen Clark) eschewed

menace and domination from every pore and more than made up for his lack of physical size; even Bullseye ( Syler)

his dog did not take too kindly too him but certainly made a visual impact on his first entry. Nancy (Joanne Forster)

warmed to the part and showed good empathy in her care for Oliver in the face of Bill’s hostility. Her solo number

‘As Long As He Needs Me’, in Act two showed her singing talents to the full and brought out the poignancy of her

dilemma. I would have liked a bit more earthiness in her characterisation and perhaps a more thought given to her

costume. Her friend Bet (Emily Fox) also stood out as one to watch, working well in Fagin’s Lair and in the songs

‘Fine Life’ and ‘I’d Do Anything’.

 

All Oliver’s need a Fagin and once again (John Marjoram) gave us an interpretation of the role of which even the

legendary Ron Moody –who sent his personal Best Wishes- would have been proud. Make up alone must have

taken significant time and planning which all culminated in a tour de force performance from this young man whose

talents it seems knows no bounds. His sidekick Artful Dodger (George Wing), a little older than usual, gave us a well

considered display  of physicality and style, if a little over enthusiastic with his dialogue on occasion losing some key

lines during his energetic but entertaining performance- His was an original style and with experience he will prove an

outstanding principal- if a trifle eccentric!

As a really eccentric couple we had the cadaverous Sowerberys (Howie Foster and Chris Penn) who delighted in

the somewhat bizarre environment of their funeral parlour and their outlandish treatment of Oliver. They were

matchedby Noah Claypole (Lawrie Groom) who met his match when tackling Oliver in a well choreographed bout

of fisticuffs!Another fine pair, Widow Corney (Deanne Dickson) and Mr Bumble the Beadle (Stephen Wilson) gave

us an ‘adult’ comedic duo with a plethora of good old pantomime double entendre as their rollicking style added

more than a touch of humour to the proceedings. Perhaps we lost some of the pomposity and awesome control

by the Beadle in the Workhouse…but we enjoyed them anyway! Marital bliss was clearly never likely and their

avarice was nicely displayed leading to proof of the adage ‘Marry in haste, repent at leisure’ and boy…they did …

with knobs on!

 

 A final word for first time director Lauren Major, herself a previous NODA Young Performer of the Year and

leading player in many shows, (and still only twenty two!). She brought a new slant to the show and added some

personal touches that gave the show a new ‘edge’. She can be proud of her first production as Director and look

forward hopefully to many more. Well done to the whole ‘crew’ for another fine show. We look forward to the first

major drama production at the Bethel Players Theatre in September.   

 

Review by: Terry Rymer (NODA Rep East District 6) 

 

The Creative Team

Director: LAUREN MAJOR

Choreographer: ANNA GOODHAND

Musical Director: STELLA BROWNSEA

Assistant Musical Director: STEPHEN BROWN

Rehearsal Coach: ELLIE CHAPMAN

Production Assistant: ANNIE BODMER

Cast List

Oliver Twist   TOM SCOGGINS/THOMAS MAJOR
Fagin   JOHN MARJORAM
Nancy  JO FORSTER
Bet   EMILY FOX
The Artful Dodger   GEORGE ALFIE WING

Bill Sykes   STEPHEN CLARK
Mr Bumble   STEPHEN WILSON
Widow Corney   DEANNE DICKSON
Mr Sowerberry   CHRIS PENN
Mrs Sowerberry   JOANNE FORSTER

Charlotte Sowerberry   ELLIE ASHBY

Noah Claypole   LAWRIE GROOM

Mr Brownlow   DAVID EVANS

Mrs Bedwin   JUDI MARS

Dr Grimwig   ALAN SUTTON


Company:
BECCIE AMER, MICHELLE FAREBROTHER, LOUISE HARRISON, LYNDA MORGAN,

DEBBIE MOYSE, ROSAMUND PAYNE, HARRIET SHIELDS, WENDY TAKMAN,

GEORGINA WARREN, POLLY WOODWARD, JORDAN AYERS, LEWIS CAPLIN,

ROBERT EDMUNDS, TOM HIGGINS, DANIEL HUGHES, CRAIG LOXSTON, LEE NEVILL,

SIMON WARREN

Children's Company:
BETHANY BANKS, JAZMINE BANKS, LUCY BROOKS, EALYN BROWN, IMOGEN BUNN,

ASHTEN ROSE BURGESS, ERIN BURGESS, GEORGE BUTLER, ALEX DAY, HAYDEN DAY,

JOSEPH DEVONSHIRE, MIA DEVONSHIRE, ELOISE EVANS, ALICIA FISHER,

BETHANY FREEMAN, LILY GOODENOUGH, GEORGE HUNT, JOSH MOORE,

DANIELLE NEWMAN, ALICIA READ, MADELIN ROBERTS, CHARLIE SHIELDS,

EMILY TAKMAN, KITTY TAYLOR, JESSICA TOVELL, JAMES TREE, LEANNE WING,

KATIE WRIGHT

 

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