Arts Award Review: Sam Doughty

On the 28th of April, I went to see the St Albans Operatic Society’s production of Lionel Bart’s “Oliver!” the musical with my family.

What I experienced as an audience member and what I liked best:
I believed it to be an entertaining musical starring some very gifted singers such as the woman playing “Widow Corney”. My favourite song would probably have been “Consider Yourself” sung primarily by “the Artful Dodger”. This was a very uplifting song at a major turning point in the play underprivileged boys where Oliver initially was living. This reflected the remnants of enthusiasm still remained in the less fortunate boys, as if it was reluctantly waiting to be unleashed. This is then, however, put to an all the more spirit-dampening end with the next song “Oliver!” which could perhaps have been relatable to certain members of the audience. It was also surprising to see that boys approximately my age sang, sang well, in a semi-professional play with a whole song to themselves. It therefore goes without saying that I was very impressed with the actors playing Oliver and particularly the Artful Dodger.

What could have been done better?
One problem is that in scene two, act two (in which Oliver is in the much more privileged west of London due to an accusation of theft), the validity of this accusation is not especially mentioned, however it was generally believed that the accusation was declared false. Oliver then was taken care of by the man that accused him of this, yet it was not clearly mentioned, nor dwelled upon, why this was being done. We were then left to assume the reason, which was obvious to some extent. But despite this ease of assumption to some, it is probable that just as many may have struggled to understand this.

Would I recommend it to others?

I would definitely recommend this to others as it was thoroughly enjoyable and lifted my spirits for the remainder of the evening after going to see it. It also fun for all of the family, as opposed to certain other musicals, as it isn’t to childish nor is it inappropriate (mostly) or unappealing to children. It additionally contained an excellent standard of performing. The acting was great as was the singing fantastic (as mentioned earlier). Overall, this was a great experience, I’d definitely see it again and would recommend it to others. 

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