Our Christmas Production of Oliver by the Senior School pupils has been praised as a ‘sheer joy to watch’ with ‘one of the best’ renditions heard in amateur theatre by NODA.
The National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA), East Representative, Catherine Dixey, attended our Thursday evening performance of Lionet Bart’s Oliver! – directed by Ted Moore, choreography by Sarah Hastings, and musical directors Lucy Bloore and Dominic Nunn.
“It is always a pleasure to return to this beautiful theatre at Framlingham College, however this was the first time I have seen them produce a musical and it was a sheer joy to watch”, says Catherine. “With a cast of over 50 students and a full orchestra of twelve all under the watchful eye of Ted Moore, The Director of Drama at the college, we were certainly in for a treat.”
The production, inspired by Charles Dickins’ 1838 book Oliver Twist, opened in the workhouse with the full cast performing the iconic musical hit ‘Food Glorious Food’ delivered energetically with Lottie B as Oliver plucking up the courage to ask for more.
“Lottie played this part beautifully with a delicate naivety but as the show progressed, she showed her steel by standing up with confidence. With many songs, including her solo ‘Where is love’, excellently sung with great feeling, she captured the character perfectly”, says Catherine. “Jake C-S as Mr Bumble with Ruby F as Widow Corney worked well together to bring maturity and comedy that the roles called for.
“Oscar W, as we have seen in previous roles, can turn his hand to bring his own interpretation to a given role very successfully – here playing Mr Sowerberry, the Undertaker – he gave great confidence and energy to this comic role. This scene is completed with excellent performances by Margo S as Mrs Sowerberry, Noah Claypole played by Daniel B and the flirtatious Charlotte played by Bella E all trying to tame Oliver. This is a great little scene and is acted well by all, finishing with the humorous rendition of ‘That’s Your Funeral’.”
Moving seamlessly through the next act, we meet the Artful Dodger played by Lucia S-L.
“Lucia plays this smart character with confidence and guile as she takes Oliver to meet the gang. Fagin, played by Tilda H commands the stage, always in control, never letting her character drop, whilst portraying affection for the gang but with a cunning disposition to ensure her own future”, Catherine adds.
“Nancy is played by Katherine W who portrays maturity beyond her years, a very demanding role showing tenderness, compassion, and massive emotion even in the face of danger to herself. All of the singing from the whole cast is of a high standard, but Nancy is absolutely extraordinary, and I think one of the best I have ever heard on the amateur stage performing the song ‘As Long As He Needs Me’.”
Highlighting the impressive dance ensemble, led by dance captain Charlie S, the cast performed with great energy and timing, the choreography by Sarah Hastings deemed ‘excellent’ – utilising the very large stage effectively from the opening number.
“I was most impressed with all four singers in this number, particularly the Knife Grinder who was flawless in his presentation and timing”, Catherine adds. “There are so many iconic songs, and the musical directors certainly had their work cut out in producing some excellent singing. Fagin’s ‘Reviewing The Situation’ was sung with feeling and emotion. A special mention should also go to the violin playing in this song – it’s one of those songs where timing is led by the singer and this experienced orchestra played accordingly, all credit to them for their professionalism and talent. Sound levels were very well controlled between orchestra and singers.
“Having directed Oliver in the past I know first-hand the time and effort one puts into bringing a production of this scale”, Catherine concludes. “Under Ted Moore‘s experienced direction along with his team, the cast produced a first class and highly enjoyable show for this appreciative audience.”
Founded in 1899, NODA is the national body that represents amateur theatre. They support and inspire amateur theatre with the vision that amateur theatre is successful and sustainable, providing a range of opportunities for people to develop their skills, and enjoy taking part, at all levels. NODA’s mission is to support the education and information needs of individuals and organisations with high quality services and products that contribute to the success of amateur theatre as well as encouraging appreciation of the sector by participants and audiences alike.
Find out more about Performing Arts at Framlingham College.