Theater review: Oliver!

Friday, August 12, 2016

19th century Dunstable, England comes to Shoreline
for productions of Oliver!

Oliver!
Book, Music and Lyrics by Lionel Bart
Based upon Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
Directed by Scott Charles Francis
Musical Direction by Michelle Choate
Vocal Direction by Dori Baunsgard
Costume Designs by Fawn Bartlett
Aurora Theatre Company
August 13, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27
Shoreline City Hall Outdoor Amphitheatre


Review by Doug Gochanour

“Consider Yourself One Of Us,” who are fortunate enough to live in a wonderful community, where live theatre productions are appreciated. Aurora Theatre Company is presenting its third outdoor summer musical. Oliver is another success for Director Scott Charles Francis. This free outdoor production provides community residents with an opportunity to enjoy excellent live theatre, virtually in their own back yard.

A bit of Shoreline is transformed into 19th century Dunstable, England. This requires 22 cast members, a 12-member orchestra, and a host of other crew members to insure that costumes, set, sound, lighting, and every little detail are just right. Doing this outdoors presents additional challenges. All was well done!

Jaryn Lasentia, as Oliver Twist, gives an excellent portrayal of the young boy who asks for “more out of life,” from gruel to Love. Oliver is sold into service and ponders his situation in the beautiful song, “Where is Love?” You may even find yourself wanting to sing along to some of the more familiar songs in this musical.

The musicians provide great background and accompaniment for the talented cast. The audience is in for a treat as the cast sings and dances in their creative costumes. The choreography is also well done, providing richly rewarding entertainment.

Wealth and poverty are juxtaposed throughout, as are the rights of men versus those of women and children. Oliver manages to escape his service position and finds his way to London. Life does not improve much when he first arrives there.

Marcus Wolf, as the Artful Dodger, introduces the boy to the life of petty crime, and eventually to Fagan. John Kline is outstanding as ringleader of the pickpocket gang. Oliver encounters pure evil in the form of Bill Sikes, portrayed by Kyle Spens.

Gloria Lee Alcala, as Nancy, sings the enchanting “As Long as He Needs Me.” Unfortunately, Sikes has a different view of life, love, goodness and evil than does Nancy.

Attend one of the performances of Oliver. Find out if Oliver Twist is able to find the love he seeks. Will Fagan reconsider his lifestyle as he sings, “Reviewing the Situation?”

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Free tickets available online. The performances take place in the courtyard behind Shoreline City Hall, 17500 Midvale Ave N.



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