Oliver! gets a twist in all-girls’ school musical

Megan Schofield (13) as Oliver in the production
Megan Schofield (13) as Oliver in the production
Forest School Leaders Dawn White and Sue Evans with their pupils outside the school

Picture: Habibur Rahman (180146-338)

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A SCHOOL’S production of hit musical Oliver! certainly has a ‘twist’ – the lead character is being played by a girl.

City of Portsmouth Girls students are not letting their gender get in the way as they prepare for an all-female version of the West End favourite.

Girl power will sweep the stage as the 11 to 16-year-olds take on a range of male characters, from nasty Bill Sykes and the cunning Artful Dodger to criminal mastermind Fagin.

Roseanne Kendall, 16, who came up with the idea for the play and will transform into Fagin on the night, said: ‘I’m pretty harsh on the character, I don’t think he deserves any sympathy so I’m going to make sure I show off his mean streak!

‘The musical registers have been quite low to sing, but I speak the notes I can’t reach and it’s worked out well.

‘I’m so proud of all the girls who have transformed into these male characters superbly.

‘I knew putting on a musical with mostly male roles would be a challenge, but we’ve done it our way and it’s going to be great!’

Jess Grinter, 14, who plays the loathsome Mr Sykes, admitted shouting came naturally to her.

She said: ‘I’ve quite enjoyed getting out all my aggression and frustration on stage.

‘It’s been a lot of fun and the whole concept of this production proves that girls can do just as well as boys.’

Meg Schofield, 13, and Lucy Perry, 12, will be Oliver on alternate days.

Meg said: ‘Playing Oliver has really brought me out of my shell, as I was quite shy at first.’

Lucy added: ‘I’m so looking forward to the performance, and the challenge of playing a male role is what drama is all about.

‘I’m pleased we’re doing something quite unique and different. Our whole ethos at school is that we can do anything we put our mind to, and we’re proving it.’

The musical will be showing at City of Portsmouth Girls’ School on July 29 and 20 at 7pm.

Tickets costing £5 (adults) or £3 (children and seniors) can be bought from the school in advance on 023 9281 2822 or on the door.