THEATRE REVIEW: Oliver! at The Royal & Derngate
Audiences in Northampton this week are being given the chance to see future stage stars during performances of Oliver! by the Royal & Derngate Young Company and Youth Theatre.
Judging by the standard of the classic production, written by Lionel Bart, theatre performance in the town is in very good hands.
The show starts with a neatly choreographed performance of Food, Glorious Food in which all the young performers carry out their dance moves in perfect symmetry and sing their lines in a tuneful melody.
We are quickly introduced to the comically, tyrannical orphanage-owner Mr Bumble, played by Ryan Mclean.
The fact Mclean is slightly overwhelmed by his oversized costume adds some welcome humour to the adult-themed, sexually-charged power struggle his character enjoys with Widow Corney during I Shall Scream.
I also enjoyed the enthusiastic rendition of That’s Your Funeral, led by the Sowerberry sisters Isla Fleury and Emma-Ann Cranston.
Perhaps the stars of the show were Lauren Moody (Nancy) and Ethan Kelly (Bill Sykes).
Allen demonstrated her superb singing voice during As Long As He Needs Me and lit up the stage with her cheerful presence during I’ll Do Anything.
The deep-voiced Kelly appeared to be a brilliant choice for Nancy’s cruel, who provides a darkly, menacing performance of My Name.
The Oliver on the night I saw the show, Curtis Sloan, also justified his inclusion in the lead role by infusing his character with the right mix of innocence and courage.
Fagin, played by Luke Nunn, was also a highlight and provided the biggest laughs during his interaction with the orchestra throughout a rendition of Reviewing The Situation.
All of the youth orchestra were note perfect throughout the performance and provided an excellent sound track to memorable songs such as Oom-Pah-Pah.
Due to their talent, professionalism and enthusiasm, the young cast managed to achieve the difficult feat of maintaining the audience’s attention for the full two hours of the show.
Oliver is being show at the Royal until Sunday, July 17