A firm favourite on the community theatre circuit, Oliver! provides a wonderful platform for local companies to showcase their young talent - something that Bournville Musical Theatre Company displayed in abundance last night. The children’s ensemble were a delight, from their workhouse rendition of Food Glorious Food, to the street urchins in Fagin’s gang, they held their own on The Crescent stage.
What really shone through in this particular production was the brilliant adult ensemble. The chorus numbers really sparkled, with particular highlights including Consider Yourself and Oom Pah Pah.
There was a plethora of solid supporting performances, including Hayden Stocker as the cheeky Artful Dodger, Stuart McDiarmid as the antagonistic Noah Claypole and Phil Snowe in the iconic role of Fagin, whilst Jill Hughes and Kris Evans made for a rather amusing duo as Widow Corney and Mr Bumble.
However there were some performances that deserve a special mention. Jimmy Van Hear stalked the stage as the brooding Bill Sykes. In great voice too, he made the most of this fantastic cameo role. The final two standout performances of the night came from James Whatmore as Oliver and Sophie Wood as Nancy. Their respective voices filled the auditorium and you could hear a pin drop amongst the sold out audience. Whatmore’s Where Is Love? was beautifully delivered, whilst Wood’s passion-filled As Long As He Needs Me cleverly juxtaposed her earlier spirited performance of It’s A Fine Life.
Together, alongside Director Terry Wheddon, Musical Director Chris Corcoran and Choreographer Chloe Turner, BMTC have put together a fine production that they should be incredibly proud of. And judging by the audience reaction last night, they certainly loved it.
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