Friday, January 13, 2012

REVIEW: Oliver! (Cardiff)

Wales Millennium Centre (Cardiff), Saturday December 24

I first saw this Cameron Mackintosh production at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane (London) back in 2009. In fact, it was August 6 and a Wednesday. During that time, Omid Djalili portrayed the role of Fagin and Jodie Prenger (via BBC1’s I’d Do Anything talent search show) portrayed the role Nancy. I remember enjoying it immensely thus more than two years later and I found out that the show is touring Cardiff, I didn’t hesitate to go… beside, what else does one do in Cardiff?

For this show, Neil Morrissey did the role of Fagin and Samantha Barks (also via BBC1’s I’d Do Anything) did the role of Nancy. Whether it was jetlag or familiarity (the surprise factor was no longer there) or editing (being a trimmed down version for touring), the show didn’t really come alive. Neil Morrissey’s Fagin tried to be both creepy and funny, but had difficulty in offering any sleek and nimble comic touches to the role. Samantha Barks’ Nancy, on the other hand, offered some gorgeous singing but a tad prim for the role.

The set and the lighting, while I can’t put my finger on it, definitely lacked the grandeur and sheen of what I saw in London. Don’t get me wrong, what I saw was still skillfully designed that facilitated smooth transitions from attractive town squares to shadowy alleys.

The highlight of the show, however, is the kids. Unfortunately, I can’t identify who played Oliver (shared by four actors) and Artful Dodger (shared by three actors). In any case, they were all (including the chorus) fabulous!

* If by any chance you know, I would appreciate it if you can inform me

Book, Music and Lyrics by Lionel Bart

Creative Team:
Musical Director: Toby Higgins
Orchestrations: William David Brohn
Musical Supervisor: Stephen Brooker
Lighting Design: Paule Constable
Costume Design: Anthony Ward
Scenic Design: Totie Driver and Adrian Vaux
Choreography: Matthew Bourne
Direction: Laurence Connor

Cast includes:
Neil Morrissey: Fagin
Samantha Barks: Nancy
Iain Fletcher: Bill Sikes
Stephen Moore: Mr Brownlow
Jack Edwards: Mr Bumble
Suzie Chard: Widow Corney
Ashley Artus: Mr Sowerberry
CJ Johnson: Mrs Sowerberry
Emma Dukes: Bet
Victoria Hay: Charlotte
Stevie Hutchinson: Noah Claypole
Gwion Jones/Tritton Wheeler/Sebastian Croft/Harry Polden: Oliver
Joseph Potter/William Edden/Max Griesbach: Dodger

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