The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
January 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9, 1982.
by Lionel Bart
Clifford Etteridge – Oliver Twist
[evening performances Saturdays, Monday, Wednesday, Friday]
Richard Bowley – Oliver Twist
Lara Bowen – Workhouse Boy & Fagin’s Gang
Amanda Cool – Workhouse Boy & Fagin’s Gang
Joanna Cocozza – Workhouse Boy & Fagin’s Gang
John Danzelman – Workhouse Boy & Fagin’s Gang
Rosalind Fenton – Workhouse Boy & Fagin’s Gang
Jason Green – Workhouse Boy & Fagin’s Gang
Anthony Gristwood – Workhouse Boy & Fagin’s Gang
Tommy Moss – Workhouse Boy & Fagin’s Gang
Anthony Strong – Workhouse Boy & Fagin’s Gang
Stephen Strong – Workhouse Boy & Fagin’s Gang
John King – Mr. Bumble
Betty Dawes – Widow Corney
Frank Child – Mr. Sowerberry
Joan Bearman – Mrs Sowerberry
Sally Pumford – Charlotte
Nicholas Thorne – Noah Claypole
Richard Thompson – Artful Dodger
Sally Bacon – Londoner
Joan Bearman – Londoner
Miranda Bowen – Londoner
Tim Cara – Londoner
Ronald Cheesman – Londoner
Frank Child – Londoner
Dave Collis – Londoner
Amanda Dawes – Londoner
Betty Dawes – Londoner
Ralph Dawes – Londoner
John King – Londoner
Sally Pumford – Londoner
Joy Talmage – Londoner
Daphne Thornton – Londoner
Sheila Neesham – Londoner
Jane Vrettos – Londoner
Meg Woodhouse – Londoner
Patrick Johnson – Fagin
Lorraine Hanner – Nancy
Karen Mulholland – Meg
Ronald Cheesman – Mr. Brownlow
Neil Shepherd – Bill Sykes
Daphne Thornton – Mrs Bedwin
Ralph Dawes – Dr. Grimwig
Meg Woodhouse – Old Sally
Lara Bowen – Dancer
Amanda Cool – Dancer
Rosalind Fenton – Dancer
Musical Director – Patrick Johnson
Musical Director – Eric Thompson
Choreography – Miranda Bowen
Piano – Eric Thompson
Piano – Myra Gristwood
Percussion – Paul Turner
Stage Manager – Alan Bailey
Assistant – Jill Redman
Assistant – Margaret Davy
Assistant – Sue Whittaker
Set Design & Construction – Vincent Joyce
Costumes – Pat Moss
Costumes – Frances Moulton
Lighting – Frank Hurrell
Lighting – Jonathon Dawes
Box Office – Frances Thorne
Box Office – Nicholas Thorne
Programme Note #1: Oliver!
BB wrote: “Oliver was first presented at the New Theatre London on June 30th 1960 and ran for 2,618 performances making it the longest running London musical by late 1966.
I was fortunate to see one of the early performances and have remained impressed ever since. The adaptation and scoring arranged for continuous action using intricate revolving set by the renowned Sean Kenny.
The appeal of a Dicken’s story is of course universal and the addition of Bart’s music never fails to accentuate the story’s appeal. The evocative scoring has always made me think we regard Bart’s Fagin as a somewhat over appealing anti hero – perhaps we all recognise a little of Fagin’s devilment in ourselves.
For you all – younger ones especially – I trust our presentation contains its intended continuous performance and that we do not obscure the ultimate and inevitable pointlessness of crime.
My thanks to my cast and production team who have worked tirelessly to bring this production about and to my family who can now look forward to the completion of some home projects.”
Review #1: Oliver!
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: Frank Horsley
Text Header: “Speedy Oliver!”
Pace and continuity of action have always been essential to any musical, but the Wick Theatre Company version of the Lionel Bart classic, Oliver!, struck me as a little too fleet-footed for its own good.
As hoped by director Barrie Bowen, Wick’s presentation at the Barn Theatre, Southwick, last week achieved the continuous flow inherent in the modern adaptation and scoring of Dicken’s novel. But it could not avoid skating over the story’s more poignant and heart tugging moments which reflected on the harshness of Victorian life. This may be a criticism that should be redirected against the original West End show, but Wick could have helped by dropping the tempo just a shade. I also got the impression, that the final stages were truncated and resulted in the action cascading away instead of building up to a satisfying climax. But tribute must be paid to the overall packaging with slick scenery, superb costumes and high-class performances doing full justice to the show’s undoubted musical and visual appeal.
Richard Bowley had just the right line in gamin looks and purity of voice to carry-off the rôle of Oliver while Richard Thompson made a cocksure Artful Dodger. On other nights these parts were played by Clifford Etteridge and Aidan Bowen respectively. Technically, Patrick Johnson’s portrayal could not be faulted, but tended to be rather too stylised.
For me, the major success was Lorraine Hanner as Nancy, who imbued the rôle with all the vivacity and colour imaginable. And Neil Shephard gave a controlled but powerful performance as her eventual murderer, Bill Sykes. With John King in authoritative form as Mr. Bumble and Betty Dawes an excellent Widow Corney, the rest of the principals had a high standard to maintain. But maintain it they did, through Frank Child [Mr. Sowerberry], Joan Bearman [Mrs. Sowerberry], Sally Pumford [Charlotte], Nicholas Thorne [Noah Claypole], Karen Mulholland [Bet], Ronald Cheesman [Mr. Brownlow], Daphne Thornton [Mrs. Bedwin], Ralph Dawes [Dr. Grimwig] and Meg Woodhouse [Old Sally].
Musically directed by Eric Thompson and Patrick Johnson, the show featured accompaniment by Eric himself, Myra Gristwood on piano and percussionist Paul Turner.
Review #2: Oliver!
Publication: Brighton & Hove Gazette
Publication Data: January 8 1982 issue
Reviewer: Walter Hix
Text Header: “A first-class Oliver!”
THE production of Oliver! by the Wick Theatre Company is something rather special. If inexperience shows among the younger, small part actors, only the most carping would take it into account in a production in which the overall casting was first-class.
Patrick Johnson, who is also joint musical director, is an unusual and almost whimsical Fagin, whose wrong-doing seems so innocuous that one regards him with something like affection.
His aide, the Artful Dodger, is made the cocky youngster that he should be by Aidan Bowen. John King epitomises Mr. Bumble, portly of build, round of voice, who terrorises the workhouse boys but not Widow Corney, whom he is so unwise as to marry. Betty Dawes admirably complements him as the charming widow who becomes the termagant wife.
If I had to single one character above the rest, I must say that it is Lorraine Hanner as Nancy. She looks right, sings well, copes with many changes of mood and all in all gives a performance of high quality. Clifford Etteridge, in the name part, dejected and desolate as the workhouse waif, blossoms out in the kindly care of Mr. Brownlow. Neil Shephard, as the murderous and hell-bent Bill Sykes, rightly dominated his scenes. Frank Child and Joan Bearman as the undertakers, Mr. and Mrs. Sowerberry, Karen Mulholland as Nancy’s friend, Bet, Ronald Cheesman as Mr. Brownlow and Daphne Thornton as his housekeeper, all deserve mention. Though their parts may be small, they are extremely well played and therefore add considerably to the overall quality of the performance. Much is due to Barrie Bowen’s fast-moving and precise direction.