Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist is a dark tale the purpose of which is to alert people to the evils of the workhouse. MCT has found in Lionel Bart’s version, OLIVER!, a tune filled, fun driven, and kid friendly musical delight.
Several performers deserve special mention. As Oliver, Robert Lewis is near perfect. He has a sweet voice and good diction- and can dance, too. He shines in “Where Is Love?” (with a super orchestral support thanks to Music Director Ken Brown) and “Who Will Buy” (this time with a gorgeous choral background). Alicia Culleton plays Nancy to the hilt. Raw and earthy in several songs, she is at her best (and that is considerable) in “As Long As He Needs Me”
Ethan Rapp is a joy as The Artful Dodger. Not only can he sing well but, what a dancer. He has the rubber legs that reminded me of the great Ray Bolger (for those who don’t remember him-he was the Scarecrow in the film The Wizard of Oz.) David Kriebel as Mr. Bumble, Brandon Bittner as Mr. Sowerberry and James Corkum as Bill Sikes all have fine male voices and added much to the quality of the show.
To make the villain Fagin a likable character is a daunting task. Steve Montgomery was masterful in the part. He was spry and light on his feet and made the most of the inherent comedy in the script.
The kids (and there are 15 of them) are just wonderful. They are most effective in the Fagin scenes. The whole cast enjoyed doing the show and that brings the audience along with them.
From the curtain speech (delivered in a super English accent) through many versions of English accents, Director Theresa Beaucheane has the period nailed exactly. Kudos to costume design by Rhett Commadaro for keeping the period look.
Hurry down to PV Middle School East and have a good time with OLIVER!
Music, lyrics and book by Lionel Bart
Directed by Teresa Beaucheane
July 18-26, 2014
Methacton Community Theater
Perkiomen Valley Middle School East
100 Kagey Road
Collegeville PA 19426