Oliver! opens eyes to world of talent at Nayland

Nayland College production 2019 &mdash; <i>videographer: NayColOfficial</i>

Last week the college’s school production took to the stage. Here student reporter Aleisha Smith gives a review of the closing night’s performance.

As the lights started to dim and the anticipation continued to mount, a hush fell over the audience seated in the Theatre Royal. They were instantly entranced by the music from the orchestra, moments after it began. Very soon, the final performance of Nayland College’s musical production Oliver!, directed by Verity Davidson, was about to begin.

The musical transported the audience back to late 1830’s London and expressed the hardships of the time for a lonely, yearning Oliver Twist, who was forced to navigate London’s violent and criminal underworld in his search for love.

Personal standout performances came from Emily Furniss as the brave Oliver Twist, Will Roddick as the sly Fagin, Ruby Burr as the tragic Nancy and Ben Dowdle as the cruel Mr Bumble. Ruby’s astounding rendition of ‘As Long as He Needs Me’ was made even more captivating by the lone spotlight that shone upon her as she sang. Overall, the cast had great chemistry and truly worked as a team, which gave a smooth flow to the performance.

Close attention had been paid to the costuming, which remained true to the fashion of the time. The men wore long coats, trousers, hats and cravats, while the women, whose faces were framed by curls, donned skirts of ankle-length and shirts and gowns featuring large sleeves.

The audience collectively marveled at the orchestra under the guidance of musical director Nigel Weeks, as they worked in harmony with the lighting crew to accentuate moments of suspense, surprise, sadness and joy. Another vital component of the musical was the split-level set, which was of great help to transitioning performers.

Though there was a bit of dialogue lost here and there through the actors’ English accents, this was no biggie and was more than made up for by the actors’ connection to their roles and skilful body language. The chorus, which consisted of both Nayland College and Broadgreen Intermediate students, had a big impact, especially when the stage was full and they sang and danced together as a group.

After a night of genuine entertainment, I was left with this lasting thought: It is important to stand up for what you believe in, even if you encounter serious challenges along the way. Oliver triumphed against these challenges and the rest of us can too – a timeless message of importance in the pressure-cooker that is our world today. 

By student reporter Aleisha Smith