With a cast of 70, all ranging from seven to 17 years old, director Jo Bennington has certainly had her hands full with the Kings Youth Theatre’s Oliver.
The production, which runs from July 12-13 at the Southsea theatre, is the result of months of work from the youth group.
Jo says: ‘The junior and the senior groups used to rehearse separately, but as the girl who plays Nancy is a senior and Oliver is a nine-year-old boy, we’ve had to bring them all together. Now they have a bumper intensive rehearsal every Saturday.’
Oliver, based on the novel by Portsmouth-born Charles Dickens, features not just a hungry child but a brooding villain, a heroine with a heart of gold and a loveable rogue.
Songs included are Food, Glorious Food, As Long as He Needs Me, Reviewing the Situation, Pick a Pocket and Where is Love?
Jo says: ‘It’s a quintessentially British story and it’s one of the most famous musicals out there. The Youth Theatre celebrated its third birthday in April and I wanted to do something huge to celebrate.
‘There are big backdrops, big sets and a big orchestra too. I think it’s good for the kids because they know it.’
Tickets: £5 to £10 from the Kings Theatre, Southsea, on (023) 9282 8282 or go to kings-southsea.com.