Reviewed by Laraine Ball
Lionel Bartís wonderful rags to riches tale has been a great audience favourite for many years. Full of colourful characters and memorable songs and music it is a marvelous experience.
Director/Choreographer Sue Pole's version was bright and energetic with some outstanding dance scenes such as her workhouse version of 'Food Glorious Food' to open the show.
The pace was very good and managed to circumvent the usual slow scene changes by having the crew move the sets in full view whilst continuing the action in front of them.
There were quite a few standout performances from the cast including some great ensemble work from the chorus.Ben Johnson as Oliver was perfect casting for the underfed 'waif' look and his voice was very sweet and true.Damon Hill and Iris Pettit did a lovely job of the villainous and greedy pair running the workhouse Mr Bumble and Widow Corney.Christopher Stansfield and Karen Muller also made a great couple as the undertaker and his wife Mr and Mrs Sowerberry.
James Wood charmed everyone with his cheeky Artful Dodger portrayal and Andrew Crayford was a marvelously sleazy Fagin.Megan Humphries thrilled the audience as Nancy, singing beautifully and making the most of her conflicting loyalties to her man Bill Sikes played in a wonderfully menacing way by Jason Ferguson.
MD/Conductor Peter Johns small orchestra was excellent, especially with the added supplementary mood music.
The set designed by Damon Hill was fabulous in particular Fagin's den but the trucks did seem rather large and appeared to be quite clumsy and difficult for the hard working crew to manage.
Costumes were good adding character and colour to the stage.
After a long 22 years it was great to see this delightful show back on the stage at Northern Light.