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REVIEW: Tegan Penny sees Oliver! performed by Budehaven Community School

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: March 27, 2014

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Tegan Penny, Year 13, watched students from Budehaven Community School perform Oliver!

LIONEL Bart's beloved musical Oliver! was recently brought to life at Budehaven Community School by a fabulous cast of students ranging from Year 7 to sixth formers.

The show, directed and produced by drama teacher Mrs White, who also produced Little Shop Of Horrors last year, was a huge success.

The excitement on stage was tangible and the audience responded enthusiastically to the well-known songs. From the moment that the first notes of Food Glorious Food sounded to open the play, the assembled crowd was fixated by the cast leaping energetically around the stage, which was constructed and designed by Mr Parry.

The cast rehearsed two or three afternoons after school per week for months leading up to the opening night, with the backstage crew and stage manager Mrs Oke.

The music and orchestra, directed and conducted by head of music, Kathleen Morrison, was faultless throughout. Having a live orchestra on stage added to the energy of the play.

Jaik Payne, 12, won the audience's heart as Oliver, capturing perfectly the vulnerability of Dickens' young orphan, and captivating the audience with his confidence and angelic vocal range especially in Where Is Love?.

Thomas Marples played a delightful Mr Bumble, the pompous beadle of the workhouse, conveying energy, confidence and a great voice. Maisie Bartrop as Mrs Sowerberry acted with great energy and attitude and mastered a very authentic cockney accent.

When Mark Rosser took the stage as the infamous Fagin, the audience was treated to a fantastic rendition of Got To Pick A Pocket Or Two as well as a consistently convincing performance that evoked great emotion for the remainder of the play.

Gabrielle Woolner was truly mesmerising as Nancy, playing opposite Thomas Tootill's menacing Bill Sykes. Sixth former Gabrielle has secured a recall at RADA (audition at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London) and is an inspiring actress who made an excellent Nancy that showcased her great acting talent.

Striking vocals were also heard from Avril Lynnes, Lily Kendrick, Joe Marshall-Evans and Isobel Sobey, who were all exceptionally confident in their roles.

The students' hard work and enthusiasm, Mrs White's direction and the work backstage all contributed to make Oliver! an excellent production which has set a precedent for the future years of Budehaven's drama department.

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