Oliver! – Adelaide Theatre Academy

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The Norwood Concert Hall was nearly full (about 300 seats) for the Opening Night of Adelaide Theatre Academy’s production of Oliver! Under Michael Eustice’s Direction, a cast of about 40, mostly children, performed and entranced the audience of proud parents, siblings, grandparents and friends for a whole 2 hours. They cheered nearly every song and clapped enthusiastically.

Choreography, by Jacinta Vistoli and Carmel Vistoli was superb, and the performers were well practised in their steps. Emily Jaensch’s costumes were colourful, tasteful and well co-ordinated, with little details like pockets to hold their handkerchiefs. The music was well played thanks to Ben Stafanoff’s direction.

Ryan Tillman sang Oliver very well and with gusto. Joel Pathuis was suitably nimble and cheeky as the Artful Dodger. Samantha Keough had a beautiful strong voice and good Cockney accent as Nancy. Grace Colsey had some wonderful facial expressions in her depiction of Fagin. Some unfortunate sound issues on Opening Night meant that Eilish Webb as Mr Bumble and Grace Colsey as Fagin frustratingly could not be heard in the first half. The issue was fixed in the second half and I’m sure it will be OK for the rest of the shows.

Of course the kids in the Ensemble were all well practised and often took my attention away from the main action.

I haven’t seen Oliver on stage before, however I recognised and enjoyed some of the songs “Food Glorious Food”; “Consider yourself” “Ompapa” and “As Long as He Needs Me”.

It’s only a short season – Saturday and Sunday nights – so go along and enjoy the show as part of the Adelaide Fringe.