Opening night, curtain up – it’s Oliver! at the King’s Theatre. The Southern Light Opera Company, Edinburgh’s oldest amateur theatre group, presenting shows since 1897, filled the King’s to capacity on the opening night of their run of Lionel Bart’s classic musical. With a cast including 120 children and a run of six performances, producing and directing this show is no mean feat, especially considering the junior cast members change through the week.
There can be no doubt that in this production the children stole the show. From the first rousing scene of “Food Glorious Food!” to the final reprise, the youngest cast members captivated the audience. Great credit has to be given to Alex Morrison, playing the lead of Oliver. His singing throughout was note perfect and he delivered his lines with sincerity and emotion. It is no surprise to learn that Alex starred alongside Jason Donovan in ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ at the Playhouse last year. The future looks bright for this 11 year old from Glenrothes.
The charismatic and ever cheeky Artful Dodger was played by Michael Denvir from Edinburgh, who brought warmth to the role. His confident portrayal of the character together with his natural interaction between Nancy (Lori Flannigan) and Fagin (Charlie Munro) made the audience fall for his comic charm. The enthusiastic audience was with Oliver every step of the way as he made the journey from workhouse orphan to pickpocket and was finally reunited with his relatives.
The Southern Light Opera Company deserves praise for showcasing the talents of the young, musical theatre enthusiasts of Edinburgh and the Lothians. Auditions began back in August of last year, with the cast committing to weekly rehearsals from October. Many local families enjoyed watching their youngsters on stage, one of them being P7 Longniddry Primary School pupil Morven Smith, who said: “It has been a great experience because I’ve made friends and developed my abilities in acting and dancing. The experience has inspired me to continue with musical theatre.” With talent and enthusiasm in abundance, who could ask for more?