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Brilliant production of Oliver set in the stunning venue of Dorchester Abbey. Full orchestra, professional lights and a really talented cast including an army of great workhouse children!

Times and prices are subject to change. Contact venue before setting out.

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  • CrowmarshGibbon

    26-Apr-2013 Report


    The Annual Dorchester festival has been launched triumphantly to a cleverly staged rendition of 'Oliver!' starring multiple generations of Dorchester inhabitants. Whilst some allowances must be made for the fact that all participants were volunteers and am-dram enthusiasts, the overall production was enthusiastic, joyous and innovative with an excellent standard of singing throughout.

    The choice of Dorchester Abbey for the venue added an interesting staging possibility that was fully taken advantage of by Director, Caroline Seed; bringing the performances down the aisle, allowing for audience interaction and a nice sense of movement. The architectural nature of the setting created a convincing 'London' and the streetlights along the aisle were skilfully used to provide atmosphere as well as context.

    Special mention must be made of Nancy's heartfelt solos, beautifully performed by Amy Dow; that scene on the bridge with Bill Sykes which was both dramatic and suitably gruesome, and for the youngest members of the cast who, at just five and six years old, are prone to upstage some of the older cast by virtue of their diminutive size and earnest participation in the workhouse scenes.

    However the entire production was stolen by the unusual and inspired casting of Barry Gibney as a young Fagin. His vocals and acting were outstanding, his comic timing impeccable and his enthusiasm and enjoyment radiated from every pore, drawing the audience along with him.

    As a piece of community theatre you couldn't do better. It was lovely to note how many of the cast and production team are family members, and to see a production sporting so many generations. The only downside of reviewing a production such as this is the sense of guilt at not mentioning every single member of the cast and crew individually when it is obvious how much time and effort have gone into creating this. So perhaps I would do them more justice to strongly suggest you go along yourself on this closing weekend and make up your own mind about who stands out - but do keep an eye out for Fagin!

    Profits from the production are split between Dorchester Abbey and Oxfordshire charity 'Special Effect'. The Dorchester Festival runs until the 12th of May with a wide variety of events for every age and taste. Keep an eye on Mumsnet Oxfordshire to see what else is on or visit www.dorchesterfestival.com

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