Review: Oliver! at Ferneham Hall in Fareham

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I have seen Oliver! performed in many forms over the years but there is still some milage left in the this famous story where a young Oliver escapes from an orphanage and meets up with a bunch of rowdy juvenile delinquents headed by pick-pocket, The Artful Dodger.

Fareham Musical Society’s production is intense, captivating and lively and more humorous than other versions I have seen. It’s full of rosy-cheeked grubby-faced street urchins with angelic voices, mischievous and very likeable.

It’s not easy to show innocence on stage but they manage to convey it perfectly.

Nick Scovell plays the unscrupulous Fagin with proficiency, giving a memorable Reviewing the Situation. The Artful Dodger skilfully steals the show, along with the sublime voice of Clare Blackburn as Nancy. If He Needs Me got an appreciable reception from the audience, and I must mention the comic duo of the Sowerberrys, Daniel Coglan and Zara Newbury-Skinner – who would have thought undertakers could be so hilarious?

Lionel Bart’s songs are hugely hummable and credit to musical director Valerie Tucker and the superb orchestra. The set and costumes create atmosphere and a lot of work has undoubtedly gone into this production. It’s immense fun for all the family. Consider yourselves well done.

Until Saturday.