Review: Oliver! by Anstruther & District Amateur Musical Society

There were 18 children in the chorus for the show, and the role of Fagin was played by Alan Tricker
There were 18 children in the chorus for the show, and the role of Fagin was played by Alan Tricker

The Anstruther and District Amateur Musical Society (ADAMS) production of Oliver at the Byre was a sell-out – and deservedly so.

Directed by Scott Melvin, with music under the control of Lynn Smith, it was both visually and musically stunning.

Choreography by Angela Lumsden was really imaginative – not easy when you have to work with 18 in the children’s’ chorus.

There were many highlights involving the children in this show for me, but one was ‘Pick a Pocket or Two’ which showed how well the children could work and sing well together.

Lewis Walker took on the challenging role of Oliver, the workhouse boy who asked for more food and he sang beautifully, especially ‘Where is Love?’.

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Martin Butler certainly looked the part of Mr Bumble and used his fine tenor voice in the song ‘Boy for Sale’. Audrey Dishington played Widow Corney – the other half of this comedy duo. George Findlay and Shona Gardner developed the comic parts of the Sowerberrys very successfully.

Hope Kennedy brought energy and enthusiasm to the part of Charlotte Sowerberry in her debut with ADAMS, ably assisted by Callum Stott as Noah Claypole.

Another youngster taking on a principal role was Ian McKie as the Artful Dodger. He was very much at ease on the stage, sang well, and produced a great characterization of the young up-and-coming thief.

Maisie Dury was delightfully assured in the role of Bet and sang confidently and well.

Another impressive youngster was Alice Kemp whose singing was beautiful in the song ‘Who Will Buy?’. Hopefully we will see more of these youngsters in future shows.

Alan Tricker is no stranger to the Byre stage and took on the part of Fagin, making it his own and avoiding all the stereotypical short cuts.

He obviously took great delight in working with all the children in Fagin’s Gang of pickpockets.

Also, he had a great fellow actor to work with – Stephanie Baillie in the part of Nancy. Stephanie sang well in the lighter first half but her singing of ‘As Long as He Needs Me’ really hit the spot.

Mitchell Scott-Bell played Bill Sykes and produced a truly frightening character. His rendition of ‘My Name’ was one of the best I’ve heard on stage.

Steve Pimentil played Mr Browlow with confidence and sincerity, supported by Brodie Smith as Dr Grimwig and Catriona Nee as Mrs Bedwin.

The staging of this musical is not easy but a well-designed set and impressive lighting meant the scene changes were swift.

Especially effective was the lighting for Bill Sykes entrance – it really helped to build the tension.

ADAMS are still choosing their next show – they will need to work hard to match the quality, drama and excitement of Oliver.