REVIEW: Oliver! Worthing Musical Comedy Society, Connaught Theatre, Tuesday 21 to Saturday 25 October.

Oliver!, a £50.000 production presented by the Worthing Musical Comedy Society opens with house full performances for the week.

You know that you are in for something special when 50 young children enter from the auditorium upon to the stage ,for the opening orphanage scene,and sing and perform there young hearts out with a rousing,Food Glorious Food,one of the great musical songs composed by Lionel Bart.

I am privileged and old enough to have seen the original West End production,with Ron Moody an unforgettable Fagin, and marvelled at the mechanical sets as the stage was set for the various scenes,and I also was involved with 4 previous Oliver shows,over the years,At the Theatre Royal Brighton and the theatres in Worthing

Director,Mandy Chapman and production team,musical director, Nigel Newman and orchestra, bring a new light to previous Oliver presentations, ,especially the staging and the dancing ,of Fagins gangs led by the Artful Dodger ,Harvey Lodge, were brilliantly performed by the young boys cast.

And the two small Olivers,Henry Andrews and Daniel,at different performances, singing and sitting, lonely ,sadly, Where is Love, brought out the handkerchiefs in the audience.

Andy Roberts, rivetting as Fagin,with his facial expressions as he lovingly covets his ill gotten jewelry from his treasure box, and his comedy antics teaching the gang how to Pick a Pocket or Two.

Wayne Roberts, chilled the audience as the brutal Bill Sykes, I would not venture into any pub that he attends,and Terri Geal, Nancy, as his long suffering girl friend,brings the house down with her rendering of As Long as He Needs Me

The comedy antics of the undertaking duo,The Sowerberrys, Olli Taylor and Sarah Papouis, you would not want to give them any of your future funeral arrangements.

At the workhouse Andy Taylor, Mr Bumble and Widow Corney, Gillean Jackson, a not so loving and conniving pair they turn out to be ,again lots of laughs.

A happy ending is provided by grandfather,Mr Brownlow,a gentle and well spoken Ernie Blackman.

Drama, comedy,music,Oliver,one of the greatest musicals of all time.

Ernie Barnes.