Review: Oliver! – Co4

The Company of Four bring Charles Dickens’ infamous novel of thievery, unwavering loyalty and hardship, turned musical to life on the stage of Seckford Theatre.

Oliver! tells the iconic story of Oliver Twist, through his time at the workhouse to the fateful meeting of Fagin and then… well, spoiler alert! Comedic and entertaining, Oliver!’s comedic tone is under pinned by tragedy and The Company of Four’s production handled both with heart-wrenching acting from Oliver (Sam Garratt) and Nancy (Kerri-Ann Lees)

The titular character was played during the show I saw, by Sam Garratt, who played Oliver fantastically. I am sure there is a bright future ahead of this young actor.

Combining the cleverly crafted set pieces, and beautifully put together costumes, watching The Company of Four’s production of Oliver felt like taking a step back in time to Victorian London. The set changes were cleverly disguised by the entertaining ensemble songs with fantastically choreographed dance sequences, choreographed by the talented Sharon Wright.

One of the stand-out performances from the show was from Julian Illman, playing the notorious leader of the criminal gang of children. He captured the iconic self confessed miser with a charmingly comedic edge.

‘Please Sir, I want some more’ demands Oliver, and leaving the theatre, it was easy to wish for the same.

With songs like ‘As Long As He Needs Me’ sung beautifully by Kerri-Ann Lees, who’s vocals were right for the hauntingly melancholy song of loyalty in the face of torment and abuse.

The casts’ hard work and effort was clear to see and with energetic and incredible dance numbers, catchy songs, sets and costumes that carried the audience straight to the seedy corners of Victorian London, and applaudable acting by the main and ensemble cast. A shout-out has to be made to all the talented children involved in the musical.

I can honestly say it’s the best production of Oliver I’ve had the pleasure of watching.

It would be criminal not to mention the truly delightful appearance of Alfie as Bullseye, whilst Cinders didn’t appear on stage, both dogs were a lovely surprise during the interval and earned themselves lots of hugs as they wandered about greeting people.

Review: Abi Mayes, Ipswich24 Magazine

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