Keen theatre troupe stages Oliver Twist

Eastern Courier - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - TARANNUM SHAIKH

Ni­cholas Har­ford will plead in front of an au­di­ence, ‘‘please, sir, I want some more,’’ as he plays Oliver Twist at How­ick’s Har­lequin Mu­si­cal Theatre, this week.

The 13-year-old stars along­side a cast of 39 for the How­ick Chil­dren’s and Youth Theatre reen­act­ment of Charles Dick­ens’ work.

It’s the first time Ni­cholas will be play­ing a lead role in his four years at the theatre.

‘‘When my mum told me I was just ‘whoa’, I was thrilled. It was crazy,’’ he says.

Direc­tor Fiona Bai­ley says while Oliver Twist has a darker theme than most of its pro­duc­tions, it’s a great ex­pe­ri­ence for her stu­dents.

‘‘It’s got a huge ar­ray of awe­some char­ac­ter roles for stu­dents to get their teeth into. It’s also quite nice for stu­dents to play peo­ple.

‘‘Of­ten Al­ice in Won­der­land and so on are fan­tasy char­ac­ters. Th­ese are all based in the real world,’’ Bai­ley says.

The youth theatre group en­sures every young ac­tor has a chance in the spot­light.

‘‘We be­lieve ev­ery­body has tal­ent and one of our things is that ev­ery­body has a turn at a speak­ing role at some point.’’

‘‘It’s also based on what stage they’re at in their devel­op­ment.’’

The pro­duc­tion al­lows for the chil­dren’s theatre to min­gle with the youth theatre, who will play the older roles.

‘‘That’s a re­ally good ex­pe­ri­ence for the younger ones to work op­po­site the more ex­pe­ri­enced stu­dents.’’

The role of Fa­gin will be played by Nathan Brown, 17, who’s happy to por­tray the con­niv­ing gang leader.

‘‘I’m def­i­nitely re­ally en­joy­ing play­ing him, es­pe­cially get­ting to work with ev­ery­one younger, be­cause it’s been such a long time since we got to work with such a big cast,’’ he says.

Fin­lay Shand-Mar­cus­son plays the sneaky Art­ful Dodger and the most chal­leng­ing thing he’s found is put­ting on Lon­don’s fa­mous Cock­ney ac­cent.

‘‘Dodger is a con­fi­dent, sneaky char­ac­ter. It’s been hard to learn all the parts be­cause I haven’t had a big role be­fore. Hav­ing this role has built my con­fi­dence and it’s been fun,’’ he says.

Oliver Twist plays at Har­lequin Mu­si­cal Theatre on Septem­ber 7-8 at 7.30pm, and Septem­ber 9-10 at 1.30pm and 4.30pm, phone 09 537 4943 or email hcyt@xtra.co.nz.

TARANNUM SHAIKH / STUFF

Nathan Brown plays Fa­gin, Fin­lay Shand-Mar­cus­son is Art­ful Dodger, and Ni­cholas Har­ford asumes the Oliver Twist role.

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