Review by: Paul Towers, 2/12/15
Oliver! By Lionel Bart
Curve Community Production directed by Paul Kerryson
Curve until 16 January 2016
“pick a pocket or two for a ticket!”
Hurrah! Paul Kerryson returns to Leicester’s Curve with a festive treat for all the family.
In one of Curve’s renowned community projects Lionel Bart’s Oliver! Is the perfect vehicle to allow local youngsters the chance to perform alongside professional musical theatre actors. There are two teams of youngsters that allow a total of 20 aspiring singer/dancer/actors to learn their craft on stage in a professional production.
Lionel Bart’s Oliver! is taken from Charles Dickin’s Oliver Twist, a dark tale of Victorian workhouses, street thieves and murderous deeds. Despite being a musical, and a successful one at that, this show doesn’t shy away from the dark underbelly of poverty stricken London. There is lots of brutality showing the boys being cruelly beaten and driven into a life of crime. The finale when two central characters die is handled fairly explicitly but never gratuitously.
On the night I went the lead boys were played by Albert Hart and Kwame Kandekore, both very capable. Hart especially handled the very physical aspects of the role of Oliver well. Kandekore has a fine sense of comedy and a winning cheeky smile.
The role of Nancy is being played from 4 Jan by Laura Pitt-Pulford but until then the role is filled by Cat Simmons, an established actress and the possessor of a theatre-filling voice worthy of Bassey, especially when she sings As Long As He Needs Me.
Peter Polycarpou, familiar to many as Sharon’s errant husband in Birds of a Feather, has great fun with Fagin, expertly filling the shoes of Ron Moody’s film version. Special mention has to be made of Jenna Boyd whose Widow Corney, Mr Bumble’s love interest, was the proud possessor of a most spectacular décolletage which propelled all before it. Finally we have to pay heed to Bullseye whose small role caused much merriment amongst the cast when he insisted on muscling in on the dialogue.
With a whole slew of familiar songs Oliver! is well worth treating yourself to a ticket, even if you have to pick a pocket or two! From Food Glorious Food, through Consider Yourself to Reviewing The Situation, there isn’t a dud song anywhere.
Kerryson’s direction, Andrew Wright’s choreography and Matt Kinley’s set design combine to ensure that Curve has a sure fire winner this Christmas.
Originally published in Western Gazette
(c) Paul Towers 2015
(c) Paul Towers 2015