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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Young 'Uns create a stylishly brilliant Oliver!

* Trouble in the workhouse: Oliver is taken in hand by Aled Morris as Mr Bumble and Leri Roberts as Widow Corney. 

llanblogger preview 

Llangollen Operatic Society’s Young ‘Uns have created a stylishly brilliant version of the musical Oliver! with its rich with gripping Dickensian drama and timeless Lionel Bart tunes bringing the Town Hall stage to rich, vivid life.

Production values are sky-high and include atmospheric sets and dazzling costumes.

And one of the best-ever casts from the Operatic’s formidable junior section transport the audience faultlessly along the road from a grim country workhouse to the dank crime dens of old London town, singing, dancing and acting their way with a competence and confidence that defies their tender years.

Bringing just the right level of vulnerability and mum appeal to the title role of the orphan who temporarily loses his way is Dylan Harrison, backed strongly by stand-out performances from Freya Mortimer as worldwise and swaggering crime pupil the Artful Dodger and Kelsey Thornton as wily old thief-master Fagin, who is at once scary and playfully deceitful.

* Oliver meets up with Freya Mortimer as the Artful Dodger.

Bringing a touch of real menace to his role as murderous robber Bill Sikes is Freddie Thornton and Sam Gonzalez Jones makes a marvellously caring Mr Brownlow, the old gentleman who rescues poor little Oliver from his misery.

The awful Mrs Sowerberry is played with a healthy level of obnoxiousness by Sophie Siddall and the undertaker himself, to whom Oliver is palmed off by wonderfully horrible Aled Morris as workhouse beadle Mr Bumble, is portrayed with a marvellously funereal touch by Sam Gonzales Jones.

A very spiteful Noah Claypole is turned in well by Edie Langford while Charlotte, the undertaker’s daughter, is brought nastily to life by Grug Bryan. Back at the workhouse Leri Roberts is a deliciously vile Widow Corney.

True plaudits must go to Heledd Edwards in her final Youg ‘Uns appearance before moving beyond its age-range. She plays the poor, put-upon robber’s moll Nancy with just the right balance of brassiness and big heart and, of course, that fine and poignant singing voice.

* Fagin (Kelsey Thornton) compares swag with Bill Sikes (Freddie Thornton).

Helping to move along the unforgettable songs, from Food Glorious Food through Consider Yourself and I’m Reviewing the Situation to Where Is Love and Oom Pah Pah, is an accomplished nine-piece orchestra.

Chorus members show true exuberance in the dance routines, strong musical ability when backing the songs and when acting out their parts as both the downtrodden workhouse children and Fagin’s motley gang.   

Also, it’s big applause for the production team of Robin Crowley (artistic director), Julian Cattley (musical director) Pamela Williams (producer), Deirdre Smith (assistant producer) and Sarah Marshal (choreographer).

Oliver! runs from this Thursday to Saturday, February 22-24, at 7.30pm, with a 2pm matinee on the last day.

* Tickets are available from or Llangollen Tourist Information, Jades Hair and Beauty, Llangollen Oggie Shop & Fine Foods.

* It's a Fine Life: Nancy kicks up her heels with the cast in the robber's den.       



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