'Much to admire in entertaining production' – Oliver! Rotherham Civic

CAOS Musical Theatre Society (formerly Chapeltown Amateur Operatic Society) celebrates its centenary this year with their first production of Oliver! at Rotherham Civic Theatre.
The production by CAOS is at Rotherham Civic until Saturday, April 20The production by CAOS is at Rotherham Civic until Saturday, April 20
The production by CAOS is at Rotherham Civic until Saturday, April 20

Lionel Bart’s well-loved musical needs little introduction and remains a firm family favourite, with a host of familiar songs that you can’t help singing along to.

After he is sold from the workhouse, Oliver runs away and ends up embroiled with a gang of pickpockets and criminals led by Fagin, a sneering and self-serving man, who teaches him how to “pick a pocket or two.”

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When Oliver is arrested, he finds himself taken in by a well-to-do and kindly gentleman – but master criminal Bill Sykes is never far behind, as he seeks to ensure that Oliver stays silent about Bill, Fagin, and the rest of the gang.

For an amateur production, there is much to admire in this very entertaining production, and the show provides a wonderful opportunity to bring together younger and older members of the amateur dramatics society to present a family show that, likewise, brings together younger and older members of the audience.

The whole company performed the show with genuine enthusiasm, and it was easy to see that they were having as much fun as the audience were.

Amy Palmer hit all the right notes as Nancy, especially in her rendition of As Long as He Needs Me, Phil Tuffin was suitably creepy and camp as Fagin and Harry Lynch-Bowers menaced as Bill Skyes.

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But the star of the show was undoubtedly Thomas Needham, who was utterly delightful as Oliver.

There were plenty of musical highlights, too, including a very full stage for Consider Yourself, a bit of an audience sing-a-long to Oom-Pah-Pah and a toe-tapping version of I’d Do Anything.

Meanwhile Jan Jackson’s direction keeps things moving along at a brisk pace and provides plenty to look at on stage, especially during the ensemble numbers.

CAOS have marked their 100th milestone in style with this very enjoyable production – one which they can be rightly proud of.

Oliver! is at the Civic Theatre, Rotherham, until Saturday, April 20 2024.