The transition year students of Ardscoil Mhuire, ably assisted by some of their talented neighbours from Garbally College, wowed audiences in the Town Hall last week with a great run of the Lionel Bart- penned classic Oliver. Directed by local man, Eoin Croffy , the accomplished and mature performances of this young cast belied their youth and expertly captured the light and dark shades in this Dickensian inspired drama.
Jane Corbett brought a wide-eyed innocence to the titular role. Her sweetness as Oliver was a perfect foil for the more cynical Artful Dodger, played by the charming Aisling Murphy. Laura Finn was a revelation as the ill-fated Nancy. Her plaintive rendition of “As Long as He Needs Me.” proved to be one of the more poignant highlights in this highly entertaining show. The Ardscoil Mhuire cast were equally gifted in capturing the more comedic moments in this musical standard. Kate Kelly played Mr. Bumble with bombastic pomposity and her scenes with Sarah Fletcher’s Widow Corney were a comic delight. Lauren Miller and Róisín McCollum were hilarious as Mr and Mrs Sowerberry , the mean-spirited undertakers who bought young Oliver.
Christopher Feeney played Bill Sykes with a menacing physicality and his threatening presence provided some of the show’s most dramatic moments. Matthew Comerford invested Fagin’s sly shenanigans with an energetic mix of humour and pathos. His gravel-voiced cockney was another of the show’s highlights.
The musicality of the cast was evident throughout this fine production. The cast shone from the memorable opening strains of “Food, Glorious Food” to the hypnotic harmonies of “Who Will Buy” and were a credit to their hardworking and equally talented musical directors, Caroline Jackson and Maeve Higgins.
Overall this was a confident and hugely entertaining production. Well done to all involved.
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