Oliver! re­ally reaches out to the au­di­ence

The Tribune (NZ) - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT -

The resur­gence of Levin Per­form­ing Arts con­tin­ues. While this tra­di­tional take on the Dick­ens-in­spired mu­si­cal may not push any bound­aries, it shows plenty of in­ge­nu­ity in shoe-horn­ing its large cast and set onto the lim­ited Per­form­ing Arts stage.

It also show­cases some fine voices and an en­thu­si­as­tic en­sem­ble of urchins. Both voice and urchin come to­gether in Larry McMyler’s Oliver, who has as­tound­ing crys­tal clear boy so­prano tones and a win­some pres­ence, counter bal­anced by the more earthy cock­ney char­ac­ter of Tier­nan Aitchi­son’s Art­ful Dodger.

Kaylee Wicks brought a cul­ti­vated coarse­ness to her role as Nancy, but was equal to the show’s an­themic As Long As He Needs Me, hav­ing the mea­sure of the char­ac­ter’s hard and soft sides.

There were some great vo­cals from Ge­off Stokes as Mr Bum­ble, though as a char­ac­ter

Oliver!

by Lionel Bart Di­rec­tor Gary O’Brien Mu­si­cal di­rec­tor Colin Tay­lor Chore­og­ra­pher Mary Da­combe-Bird Levin Per­form­ing Arts June 17 to July 2 Re­viewed byRichardMays

just a bit shouty. At least he had clar­ity of dic­tion. It wasn’t al­ways easy to hear ev­ery­one.

As a late call up, Mark Peni de­liv­ered an idio­syn­cratic Fa­gin, per­haps for­get­ting dur­ing con­tem­po­rary ad-libs while Re­view­ing the Sit­u­a­tion that he wasn’t in a pan­tomime.

Bruce Clark’s Bill Sikes was brutish enough, and the show worked its way neatly around the ab­sence of a Bulls­eye, the vil­lain’s bull ter­rier.

Un­der­pin­ning it all though was an ac­com­plished eight-piece show band – mae­stro Colin Tay­lor, take a bow.

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