As one would hope from a show with so much expectation surrounding it, this revival of Oliver is nothing if not ambitious. From the first workhouse scene, where the stage is packed to its grime-ridden rafters with malnourished kids, the sheer scale of the project is apparent.
While many eyes were on returning Charlotte Smith from last year’s Wizard of Oz – whose southern English tones help create a warm Nancy – Noah Meekings also of Year 5 is the star attraction.
Drawn to the stage by this particular role, his playful Fagin at times has a touch of Mr Bean about it. Leaning more towards the paternal rather than the sinister side of the character, he revels in the role, delighting, in particular, in the physical and lingual comedy of Reviewing The Situation.
Of the children – who, as a large group, show remarkable talent and give hope for a happy future for Compass musical theatre – Rania Zabadee delivers a pure, unsullied Oliver, while Shahd Al Salem is the very essence of the Artful Dodger, instantly likeable, cheeky, chirpy, with an air of cockiness that never grates.
Even with Zabadee and Meekings stealing the headlines, and with lauded performers including Kyle Galvin as Mr Bumble and Oliver Braddock as Bill Sykes, nothing is bigger than the production as a whole.
The children of Compass International School Gharaffa created this magnificent show through hard work and dedication.
Over the past few months it has been a true pleasure to watch the children grow, create, adapt and sustain different roles throughout the learning process of the show Oliver. By singing, dancing and acting in front of their peers and to a larger audience, the children have developed their confidence throughout each rehearsal which has been especially rewarding for the teachers involved. Bravo!
Ms Nicky Forsey for painting the entire set
Mandy, Kerrey and Monica: Props, Costumes and Stage Managers.
Learning Assistants Helpers: Yvonne, Kate, Victoria H, Barbara, Sun and Abby
Sound and Production: Shakkir and AJ
PE Department for the use of the Sports Hall during rehearsals
Doha Players for use of props and costumes
Special thanks and applause to Casting Director & Choreographer, Ms Sarah Watt, along with Musical Director, Mr Francis Higgins, and Mrs Morag Paton for providing the music.