Oliver! hits the Black Box Theatre

Twin Productions staging of classic family musical

A scene from the 1968 film version of Oliver!

A scene from the 1968 film version of Oliver!

OLIVER! THE much-loved family musical by Lionel Bart, comes to the Town Hall Theatre next week in a vibrant staging from Twin Productions. This fully-staged, fully costumed production, features students from Power Performance Academy and many talented adult performers from some of the best musical societies in the west of Ireland.

The show is directed by Brian and Seán Power who are well known for directing musical theatre in Galway for the past 25 years. Musical director is John O’Dea and choreography is by Catherine Upton and Declan J Gardiner.

“The last time we did Oliver! was four and a half years ago,” Sean Power tells me, ahead of the show’s Town Hall run. “We did it in the summer and it was in the middle of a fantastic heatwave which really hit our box office! But we had a good time with the show aside from that. We have a whole different crew involved with this production; we have good adult performers who would be involved in many of the leading musical societies here in the west and then we tie them in with young performers from the Power Academy for the orphans and Fagin’s gang. The kids playing the Artful Dodger and Oliver come from them as well. This is our third time doing the show on a big scale; we have a set coming in from London and costumes from Scotland.”

Power reflects on Oliver!’s remarkable durability. First staged in 1960, and famously filmed in 1968, it has remained a much-loved classic of musical theatre. “It has such a wide appeal, it is one of the best musicals of all time,” Power observes. “There are so many iconic songs in the show like ‘Consider Yourself’, ‘Food, Glorious Food’, ‘You Got To Pick a Pocket or Two’. They are really great songs still and when they are done with the kind of beautiful harmonies we have in the show they are great. Growing up for us Oliver! was such a fixture on TV at Christmas time so it is nice to be doing the show at Christmas time now for the Town Hall. ”

The Oliver! cast features many performers who are well known in musical theatre circles here in the west. Niall Conway from Mayo is doing Mr Bumble, Sean Hosty is playing Bill Sykes, Katie Creaven is Nancy, Declan Gardiner is Fagin. Oliver is played by Ruiari O’Connor and the Artful Dodger role is taken by Keith Hanley.

Oliver! runs at the Town Hall from Wednesday December 7 to Sunday December 11 at 7pm nightly. There are also 3pm matinee shows on both Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are available from the Town Hall (091 - 569777, www.tht.ie ).

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