Oliver (Irie Mastrella) and The Artful Dodger (Bryn Rice) take their bows during the curtain call at Nasson Little Theatre’s production of Oliver!
This impressive production continues through next weekend.
Photo: David Parent
By Barbara Sutcliffe
“Please Sir, I want some MORE.”
The poor orphaned Oliver doesn’t get any more gruel in “Oliver!”, the musical being performed by Nasson Little Theater; fortunately, audiences still have more opportunities to see this outstanding production.
Based on Charles Dickens’ novel “Oliver Twist,” the musical directed by George Perkins brightens a terribly sad and dark tale from 19th-century Victorian England with its slums and workhouses with a deft injection of comedy and humor, focusing on lightheartedness in a number of scenes
All the actors playing main roles portray both the dark and the light sides of their characters, which creates a complexity and richness that makes them leap from the page onto the stage.
Mr. Bumble the Beadle (Derek R. Brigham) and the Widow Corney (Danielle Raitt) are hysterical in the beginning of Act I with their courtship scene. Oliver (Irie Mastrella) sings “Where Is Love” sweetly and poignantly. The Artful Dodger (Bryn Rice) is charming, likable and delightfully manipulative. The rowdy, fun-loving Nancy (Carly McQuay) can’t escape the sad fate that will befall her. The only character without any light or goodness is the villain, Bill Sikes (Devon Fogarty), who is scary, violent and evil.
Fagin (Kevin Reams) is the miserly master of the gang of pickpockets. His performance is also masterful – layered, complex, simply outstanding. You won’t find a better portrayal of Fagin in film or professional theater.
Fagin’s Boys/Orphans do a great job showing off the choreography by Emma Stevens and providing a strong and capable chorus for many of the numbers.
“Oliver!” has a huge cast with many minor roles, all of which were performed well and supported and completed the production.
The pit orchestra directed by Karen Matthews was up to the task and the balance between vocals and accompaniment was just right. The violin solo to Fagin’s Soliloquy was beautifully played by Anna Pearlman.
Light, sound, stage crew, costumes are all top-notch. The minimalist set and lighting allow the audience to focus on these complex and wonderful characters.
To get MORE, “Oliver!” will be performed on Dec. 2, 8 and 9. Ticket information is available here.