The Wranglers, The Muse Theatre, 26th – 30th May 2015
Wendy Holmes, Director of Wranglers, vowed never to produce Oliver! again but here it is and the audience were certainly glad she changed her mind.
The show began with an army of workhouse children descending from the back of the theatre. They collectively produced a strong vocal and weren’t afraid to show their distaste toward Mr Bumble.
However Mr Bumble played by Gareth Davis showed his lighter side in the song ‘I Shall Scream’ in which he attempts to woo Widow Corney played by Alison Davis. The twee dance moves suited the mood fantastically and amused the audience.
Despite the undeniable darkness to the tale of Oliver, it does provide an evening of good old knees up, jolly entertainment with favourites such as ‘Consider Yourself’ and ‘I’d Do Anything’.
Georgia Parnell as Nancy sang a passionate and tear jerking version of ‘As Long As He Needs Me’. She interacted brilliantly with the shows leading characters, Oliver (Findlay Hutchins), The Artful Dodger (Ben Davis) and Fagin (Geoff Conventry) who all gave strong characterisation.
The orchestra were excellently lead by Conductor and Keyboard player Gavin Martin. During Fagin’s ‘Reviewing the Situation’ the violin played by Pete Twyman was used to great effect due to the precise timings. The audience was roaring with laughter when Fagin’s violin appeared to be playing tunes of its own accord.
The last scene of Act one in which Oliver is accused of stealing could have been a little clearer. More attention needed to be focused on The Artful Dodger and Oliver as the action was too easily missed.
Lionel Bart’s exploration of London and love of the cockney accent lived on through the Wranglers production of Oliver!