Oliver - performed October 2006
Performed with the kind permission of Music scope and Stage Musicals ltd.
Director - Kerry King
Musical Director - Patience Ling
(in order of appearance)
|The Artful Dodger
|Workhouse Children /
Kerry King, Patience LIng, Doug Newton, Paul Scott, Bruce Emeny, Daniel Humphreys, Roger Licence, Andy Terry,
Carole King, Derek Butcher, Nigel Morton, Glyne Hill, Val Taylor, Gloria Streames, Yvonne Cobbold,
John Roberts, Caroline Roberts, Lester Pearse, Viv Wheatley, Steve Sadler.
Oliver Twist is a young boy who lives in a workhouse with other orphaned boys. When Oliver disrupts a meal by
asking for more, he is sold to a local undertaker and his family. They treat Oliver horribly and make him sleep
under the coffins. Oliver escapes and runs off to Paddington Green, where he quickly befriends another young boy,
the Artful Dodger. Dodger takes him to his home, an academy for orphans who learn how to be pick-pockets run by a kind,
yet slightly sinister, old gentleman named Fagin. Oliver is also introduced to Nancy Sikes, a lovable young woman,
and Bet, Nancy's best friend. When Oliver goes on his first pick-pocketing job, he is caught by the police.
The man that Oliver thieved, Mr. Brownlow, learns of Oliver's sad past and brings him into his own home.
Meanwhile, Nancy's husband (the villainous Bill Sikes) worries that Oliver will tell Mr. Brownlow and the police
where the thieves live. He forces Nancy and Bet to snatch Oliver from Mr. Brownlow's house and take him back to Fagin's.
Nancy does everything her husband tells her to but plans on secretly taking Oliver back to Mr. Brownlow.
Before she can do so, Bill finds out of his wife's plans, and murders her. He then goes after Oliver, but is shot
and killed. Oliver and Mr. Brownlow, who turns out to be Oliver's grandfather, return safely home.
Colourful, vibrant, outstanding - but words don't do justice to this production of Oliver.
Charles Dickens could never have envisaged his epic rags-to-riches story being turned into a popular musical
but Lional Bart's work has meant many more now know about life in 19th-century London than might otherwise
have been the case.
The Manifest Theatre Group has been playing to sell-out audiences all this week and no-one was disappointed.
Many in the audience were foot-tapping to the music and left the Oxford road theatre still humming the well-known songs.
The amateur thespians have been turning out excellent productions for almost 30 years and with a cast of nearly 40,
ranging in age from seven to 70, look set to continue for many years to come with so many talented players in the area.
Oliver was played by 13-year old Daniel Richardson, making his debut with the group. He visibly grew in
confidence as the play progressed but was ever-so-slightly over shadowed by the more experienced and older
Artful Dodger, Ryan Maslen. Mike Johansen was exceptional as Fagin with Adrian Bolton suitably sinister
as Bill Sykes, while Val Taylor was excellent in the cameo role of Mrs Sowerby. Another star performer was
Jo Cobbold as the flamboyant, streetwise but soft-hearted Nancy, who has several solos to sing.
Credit also goes to director and producer Kerry King and the backstage crew for making the best of the limited space,
with a special mention for musical director Patience Ling, kept busy as pianist throughout the two-hour performance.
No-one needs to travel while the Manifest continues to provide such wonderful entertainment.
(click on an image below to view a larger photo - arrow keys navigate through the set)