The bravery of a little boy holding out his bowl for more gruel is one of the best-known images of 20th century musical theatre, but it may well be the audience asking for ‘more’ when Oliver! takes to the stage at the TAS Hoskins Centre from next week.
Sixty-three students from Years 6-12 are involved in the show as part of the cast, crew or orchestra - the first time Middle and Senior School have collaborated in a production for several years.
Making it all happen are Director Mr Andrew O’Connell, Co-Musical Directors Ms Leanne Roobol and Mr Warwick Dunham, choreographer Ms Joanne Wysel, Mr Michael Cornford on Technical Design and Stage Manager, and current Year 12 student, Stephanie Clarkson.
Sharing the title role are Felix Hruby (Year 8) and Lennox Neilson (Year 7); Michael Harrell (Year 12) is a riveting Fagin; Keanu Rhoades charms as Artful Dodger; Jesse Streeting is larger than life as Bill Sikes, while the role of his ill-fated girlfriend Nancy is shared by Miah Lupica and Hannah Neilson.
Together they are complemented by a large cast of boys and girls who bring to life the poor commoners and desperate orphans in Victorian East End London.
The show’s catchy tunes (‘Consider Yourself‘, ‘Food Glorious Food’, ‘Who Will Buy’) are widely known to those aged over 40 but the fact the musical hasn’t been made into a film for many years meant it was new to most of the cast – and that was part of the attraction, director Andrew O’Connell believes.
“When this year’s musical was announced to the school community, most of the students drew a blank - but a number of parents took delight in introducing it to their children, which really gave it a lot of momentum in the lead up to auditions and casting,” Mr O’Connell said.
He said the production will be a hallmark of creative life of the school in its 125th year.
“It’s an iconic work with important historic social commentary and to have that brought to life in 2019 by boys and girls, boarders and day students from Years 7 to 12, is also a powerful celebration on the richness of the Creative Arts and indeed the broader history of TAS.”
Oliver! will be performed at 7pm on Thursday to Saturday, March 21-23, and again from Thursday to Saturday, March 28-30. There will be matinees on Saturday, March 23 and Friday, March 29 at 1pm.