The lights go dark, the orchestra starts to play, the whole audience start to clap along to the familiar tunes as they start to play and the onlookers cheer as the curtain lifts, can the cast live up to the audience’s anticipation?
Oliver! was Lennox Productions’ first performance back in 2007 and 10 years later they are still performing at The Queen’s Theatre in aid of Lennox Children’s Cancer Fund. This production has a lot to live up to, Oliver! is a classic musical, familiar to most people and if you haven’t seen the musical before you will know a lot of the classic songs, such as ‘Food, glorious food’ and ‘Got to pick a pocket or two’. However, the cast in this production certainly do a marvellous job of living up to these expectations and the whole show feels like a Broadway performance.
A classic part of Oliver is the cast of children and in both the orphanage and Thieves Kitchen scenes they are on top form, each time they came on stage and sang I inevitably found myself with a grin on my face. A special mention should be given to The Artful Dodger (who in the performance I saw was played by Freddie Parker but is also played by Frankie Henderson) it was a remarkable performance for a 10 year old boy and he was also a great comic actor, with lots of laughs in every scene he was in.
Oliver McDonagh played Oliver in the performance we saw, also played by Devon Adams. He’s voice was remarkable and his performance of ‘Where is Love’ was heart wrenching. He also is a great actor and I can see him staring in many future productions
My favourite character of the night was Fagin, played by James Foale, he was great in this position, often adlibbing during scenes and getting a lot of laughs. In addition to comedy, his dramatic performances left us feeling the inner struggles of the character, especially in his performance of ‘Reviewing the Situation’
The reward for best voice of the night has to go to Hannah Hayes, who played Nancy. Every song she sang was perfect, both during her solo performances, such as ‘As long as he needs me’ and group songs such as ‘Oom-Pah-Pah’, I was surprised to read that she has a job as a nurse, as I could easily imagine her performing professionally.
The whole show was brilliant and a fantastic tribute to Lennox Productions’ 10-year anniversary at The Queen’s Theatre. There are were lots of people in this production that I think we should be keeping an eye on as I can imagine them showing up on next year’s Britain’s Got Talent. This performance defiantly exceeded my expectations and the expectations of the audience.