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G&S Society’s Oliver!


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You want more? Here it is! The Gilbert & Sullivan Society of SA’s successful winter run of the musical Oliver! is being reprised this summer, and if you remember the 1968 British movie of Lionel Bart’s take on the Charles Dickens classic, then you will be thrilled to hear the songs again.

With an energetic opening, director, choreographer and star David Lampard sets the scene for a rollicking romp for young orphan Oliver, who is sold from the workhouse to a funeral parlour and then escapes downstairs into Fagin’s cavern.

His new friend the Artful Dodger welcomes him with “Consider Yourself”, so should Oliver feel at home, part of the family? Has he finally found secure employment?

These below-street-level urchins are bound to pick a pocket or two of the respectable folk bustling above on Victorian London streets, but that’s not really Oliver’s style. Could caring Nancy help? She’d do anything for her boyfriend, scary Bill Sykes. What if Oliver’s life were in danger, though?

A touch of the macabre runs through the Goth sets, clothing, smoky lighting and atmosphere. Scene changes themselves are exciting.

The cast is full of characters, including Lampard’s wonderful undertaker Sowerberry, nasty Noah and Charlotte, Widow Corney with her Bumble-Wumble (Rosyln and Nicholas Lock), and kindly Mrs Bedwin (Renie Walker).

Then there are the big hitters: a poignant Fagin (Rod Schultz), intimidating Bill Sykes (Paul Talbot) with his voice of quiet menace, and darling Nancy (Emma Bargery) with her goosebump-producing “As long as he needs me”.

And, of course, there is the glory of a young boy’s voice. Oliver (played by Harry Fiedler on opening night) carries with courage the journey, asking “Where is love?” The cast voices come together to sing en mass, which is where the orchestra, under the musical direction of Peter Johns, and its marvellous woodwinds come into their own.

Perhaps it’s time to introduce a new generation to the catchy tunes.

The Gilbert & Sullivan Society of SA is presenting Oliver! at the Arts Theatre in Angas Street until February 8.

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