Thursday, August 21, 2014

Children and animals

Never mind Bill Sykes' irreppressibly friendly dog, any actor mindful of that famous theatrical adage about children and animals would be on a loser with Oliver! especially the energetically exuberant version at Merlin Frome put on by Tri.Art Theatre School after an unbelievably hasty ten days preparation. With a cast so young you'd expect to make concessions to inexperience but none are needed, this is high-quality performance and brilliant entertainment. A fabulous live orchestra helps, and Claudia Pepler's direction maintains thrilling pace as melodrama unfolds through dancing frolics and dark places to a happy ending for the hero. Hugo Fisher is enchanting as Oliver, mesmeric whenever onstage, and you can't imagine a more delightful Dodger than Dillon Berry. Of the slightly-older ones, Ryan Hughes gives camp charm to Fagin and Daisy Weir is impressive as Nancy the loyal lover of psychotic Sykes.  It's on for two more nights, if you're in or near Frome, worth booking.

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