Mellows – Oliver! – Review

Oliver!, Mellow Dramatics, Brewhouse arts centre, Burton.

Let’s take it as read that, one, you know what the musical Oliver! is about, and two, you know most of the songs.

The show, directed by Sharon Plummer, is using two boys to play Oliver, on opening night we had Joe Wardle as our Oliver and he made a fine job of it.

A packed Brewhouse auditorium showed their appreciation for the show with prolonged applause at the curtain and the cast certainly deserved it.

Many of the cast will be familiar to Mellow’s audiences but there were some new faces – one of whom looked as if he’d been on stage for years – stole the show for me . . . but I will let you make up your own minds when you go. I think they have unearthed a real talent.

Husband and wife team, Melvyn and Jean Edwards were great as Mr Bumble and the Widow Corney bringing the right amounts of humour and nastiness to the roles. Steve Wood as Bill Sykes was suitably menacing channeling a grubby EastEnders’ hardman.

Tom Brassington played the seedy, down-at-heel Fagin with just the right amount of vulnerability and bounce in his rendition of Reviewing the Situation.

Callum Davis’ Artful Dodger did very well in welcoming Oliver to Fagin’s Gang in Consider Yourself and the crowd scenes and set pieces were well choreographed by Sian Plummer.

Hannah Smith worked very well as Bet alongside what was a standout performance by Becky Stewart as Nancy – Bill Sykes’ long-suffering girlfriend. I hope Becky won’t mind me saying that there was more than a passing reminder of Jody Prenger in her performance.

Well done to all the cast who put on a show worthy of the Mellows. It was also a lovely surprise to see Jack Broughton back on stage with them in the role of Mr Sowerberry, always good to see him.

I am informed that ticket sales have been very strong for the week and that some performances are already sold out. So be quick if you want tickets for the show.

The Mellow Dramatics’ Oliver! is on at the Brewhouse, Union Street, Burton, until Saturday, September 18th, with performances from 7.30pm every night and a matinee performance at 2.30pm on Saturday.

For ticket information contact the Brewhouse box office on 1283 508100.

Bill Pritchard

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