Oliver!

The Prep School musical this year was the age-old classic Oliver! This is a story of a young orphan who travels to London to make his fortune and who ends up meeting some very interesting characters along the way.

With the big reveal, the audience’s breath was taken away – we truly could have been at a West End production with the set that Mr Scott and his team created – the theatre was transformed into the streets of London. The set was beautifully complemented by a wide range of superb contributions: Mr Edwards’ lighting design, the costumes organised by Miss Rosie Paveley and the mums, the make- up by Miss Martyn-Fisher, Miss Kane’s props and the backstage team.

The production opened with the well-known ‘Food Glorious Food’ and this really drew the audience in. We also had the introduction of one of the principal characters, Oliver Twist, played expertly by John Ascough. The role was a challenging one, requiring a constant presence on stage, as well as a number of solos and numerous dances to learn. But John took it all in his stride and wowed the audience – I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house when he performed ‘Where is Love?’

The story moved forward and we met a range of characters starting with Widow Corney (Carolina Campbell) and Mr Bumble (Joshua Cox). They sealed Oliver’s fate and sold him to the undertakers, but not before enchanting their audience with some musical numbers.

Oliver arrives at the Sowerberrys where he is greeted by Mr Sowerberry, (James Ascough), a rather strange and quiet character who loves and fears his wife (Heather Richardson) in equal measure. The Sowerberrys performed excellently in their musical number ‘That’s Your Funeral’, which really set the scene for this morbid couple.

Having run away from the funeral parlour after a raging fight with Noah Claypole (Lorcan Mooney), Oliver arrived in London to seek his fortune, but not before he bumped into The Artful Dodger (Fraser Tulloch). He kindly showed Oliver the ropes and was introduced to the city of London in the song ‘Consider Yourself’ in which Fraser led the way, with the Chorus in close succession, in an uplifting number. Oliver was led to the Thieves’ Kitchen where he was introduced to the infamous character Fagin (Gabriel Wilkinson) who taught him a few things about picking pockets.

Act 2 immediately grabbed the audience with the opening song ‘Oom-pah-pah’, delivered by Nancy (Julia Green). This was quickly followed by the introduction of Bill Sykes (Faris Faiz) in the song ‘My Name’, which had the audience transfixed on this terrifying man threatening the audience; an outstanding performance from Faris. As the story progressed we had the joys of the Chorus singing in lots of big numbers and impressing the audience with their professionalism.

As Act 2 progressed we hit the huge show-stopper as Julia Green performed ‘As Long as He Needs Me’. You could have heard a pin drop in the audience as everyone was astounded by Julia’s beautiful voice and portrayal of the character Nancy. Before we could get to our happy ending we had the tragedies of two deaths, which Julia and Faris portrayed with both control and emotion, which had the audience on the edge of their seats. This led to the reunion of Oliver and Mr Brownlow (Archie De Haldevang), his long lost grandfather – a perfect ending to a perfect show. The pupils have surpassed themselves this year and they have been an absolute dream to work with. The West End had better watch out as MCM Prep School is offering some serious competition!

Miss Catherine Perrio

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