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Review by Marie Humble
I had the great pleasure of watching Whitley Bay Operatic Society’s production of one of our most beloved musicals, Oliver! From the second the stage lights brightened and the orchestra began their first note, the audience were whisked away to 19th century London. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the story, Oliver tells the tale of an orphan who travels to London to seek his fortune. On his way meets Dodger, who takes him to Fagin’s gang of pick pockets. The show certainly left me wanting more! Some of the younger actors opened the show with ‘Food Glorious Food'; their talent shone through and their level of professionalism throughout the show is commendable.
On the night I saw the show, Joseph Chandler was playing Oliver and Adam Hubbick was playing Dodger. Joseph blew me away with his performance of ‘Where is Love’, as did Adam with his performance of ‘Consider Yourself’ – where we could see the strong dynamic between Dodger and Oliver. Fagin, our favourite lovable rogue, is a difficult character to get right, but Jack Knight was absolutely spot on. It reminded me a lot of Ron Moody’s performance in the original film and the comic timing was perfect. Despite being a bit of a villain, I couldn’t help but root for him, particularly when he performed ‘Reviewing the Situation’. Moving onto another lovable character, Emma Scott played Nancy and I’m astounded at her brilliant singing voice; you could tell she put her heart and soul into these songs which left the audience mesmerised. This was accompanied by her powerful acting, which was on show in scenes portraying her problematic relationship with Bill.
I could write about every performer on that stage, but that would take so long! Everyone involved did a fantastic job and should be proud of themselves. I can’t forget to mention the brilliance of the live orchestra, who timed every note perfectly and enhanced the experience.
All of this was for a wonderful cause; the WBOS were raising money for Action For Children. This is a charity which works to stop child neglect and abuse and helps children and teenagers through foster care or adoption. Even some of the cast members stood with buckets at the end of the show, to encourage everyone to support this great cause.
However, before the curtain closed, the whole cast joined each other back onstage to do a final rendition of ‘I’d Do Anything’. This led the audience to clap along and savour this last song. Overall, it was a fantastic family night out and I look forward to seeing another production by Whitley Bay Operatic Society!