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Review - Oliver!

Karen Eknaian
The Patriot Ledger
March 15, 2005
Please sir, I want some more 'Oliver'

"Oliver" is a classic tale of the struggles of an abandoned young boy and his fight to find someone to love him and to care for him.

Fear, distrust and ultimately, triumph are paramount in this play and must be acted out by an emotionally driven cast.

The Curtain Call Theatre's performance of "Oliver" gave a whole new meaning to the phrase, "Please sir, I want some more."

The performers were exciting and entertaining, even though there were certain musical numbers that were dominated by the orchestra rather than the singer.

The setting was quaint and shabby-looking as it should be, and although the theater is quite small, there is a sense of openness due to the high ceilings.

Oliver, a 13-year-old orphan who finds himself being tossed around like a rag doll between several sets of grownups, was played by Andrew Smith. For a young man, Andrew has a powerful voice and his solos were exceptionally emotional and captivating.

Some of the main couples within the play were also entertaining and seemed to match their characters well. Bill Sykes was played by Michael Warner with a wonderfully evil presence. He did a fantastic job of making everyone hate his character, although his voice seemed to be covered by the orchestra during his singing performances.

This was not the case with Sykes' sweetheart Nancy, performed by Kate deLima, whose voice was as powerful as Warner's presence was evil. With such a difficult role, both strong and submissive to Sykes, deLima did a good job of swaying the audience back and forth between her conflicting roles with her body language and tone of voice.

Mr. Bumble (Tim Fitzgerald) and Widow Corney (Sharon Petti) are a wonderful bickering pair, before they are even a couple, which added a comical atmosphere during some of the more stressful parts of the story.

The undertaker, Mr. Sowerberry and his wife (Jura Aukstikalnis and Colleen McCafferty) were funny and particularly creepy, as they should be, during their duet of "That's Your Funeral."

Will McDonald played the Artful Dodger and will not be forgotten due to his excellent performance as Fagin's most crafty thief, not to mention his wonderful accent and singing voice.

John Sawyer's performance as Fagin was extremely funny, and he did such a great job being likeable that it was difficult to decide whether to hate him or have pity upon the old man.

The chorus should not be overlooked, as they had a very commanding voice as a group in all of their numbers.

My only complaint might be that the beginning of the second act seemed rushed. How Oliver came to live with the rich Mr. Brownlow was explained instead of shown and some of the reprises seemed long.

All in all, a wonderful performance of a classic play and a great way to spend the evening with family.