Performance review

Oliver! – captivating and wonderfully choreographed

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By Sarita Rao

Well-synchronised choreography and some amazing voice talents bring to life this stunning production of “Oliver!” at Kinneksbond.

Set in the dark Dickensian times of 1830s London, when poor children were either treated as free labour in work houses or forced to turn to a life of crime, Lionel Bart’s musical adaptation brings out a more light-hearted note on the gin-addled troubles of the underclass.

The world-famous 1960s film of “Oliver!” had a star-studded cast including Ron Moody, Harry Secombe and Oliver Reed, but Pirate Productions and New World Theatre Club’s joint production showcases some amazing talent representing more than 25 nationalities living in Luxembourg.

In particular Ruth Gillen’s voice is striking as she sings ‘As long as he needs me’, alone on stage as the ill-fated Nancy. Noam Golergant in the role of Oliver on the opening night is pitch perfect, and Brian Parker pulls off a pretty good Fagin, complete with his many-pocketed long coat.

Good performances too from Jeff Konter as the evil Bill Sikes, and Adam Guilfoyle as the flamboyant Artful Dodger. Patrick Weldon and Beverley Atkinson are convincingly dislikeable as the work house villains Mr Bumble and Widow Corney.

The score used by Musical Director Philip Dutton is from a 2008 revival of “Oliver!”, and has a dramatic and modern orchestration. The 26-strong orchestra compliments the harmonious voices exceedingly well, but a special mention should go to the solo violinist who accompanies Fagin in the song ‘I am reviewing the situation’.

Oliver at  Mamer Kinneksbond
Oliver at Mamer Kinneksbond
Photo: Guy Jallay

Eighty adults and children were on stage for some of the songs such as ‘Consider yourself’ and ‘Who will buy’ creating a wonderfully choreographed mood of busy Victorian London. Equally striking is the opening number, ‘Food, glorious food’, probably the most famous song in “Oliver!”

Throughout the performance, the stage is set simply with a projected backdrop that evokes the grim work house, the darkly lit lodgings of Fagin and his gang of boys, and the London skyline. Attention to detail in the costumes, from the elegant black mourning clothes of Mr and Mrs Sowerberry, to the tall-hatted policeman and the colourful raggedy street children, further draw you into what life was like in this bygone era.

Newcomers to the musical story will be thrilled with the excitement and energy created on stage, but even if you’re familiar with the film, be prepared to delight in some fantastic renditions of classic songs and a few ones that aren’t featured in the film.

“Oliver!” is on at Kinneksbond Centre Culturel, 42 Route D’Arlon, Mamer tonight at 20.00, Saturday 16 April at 14.30 and 20.00 and Sunday 17 April at 14.30.

All performances are currently sold out but for unwanted tickets may be available in the Facebook Event.

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