‘Olivia’ – More, Please!

15 March 2019
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This inventive, original and witty show, especially written for younger performers, is a parody of many popular musicals – not least “Oliver!”, “My Fair Lady” and “Annie”. Throw in a host of fictional Victorian characters from Sherlock Holmes to Scrooge and the stage is set for an evening of nostalgic escapism. The Farlington Prep School production under the expert guidance of director, Lucy Cooper, and musical director, Brian Dallimore, showcased the talent of over forty pupils – and what talent it was! The quality of acting was evident right from the opening scene when the aptly-named Mrs Murdstone and her donkey-loving drudge, Dicken, presented a wonderfully grim portrait of the orphanage. Clarity of diction and excellent pace were strong features of this production, as was superb characterisation from figures as diverse as Mrs Dilber of the charity school and George Bernard Shaw. The actresses playing the double-ups of Olivia, Eliza, Fagin and Dodger – together with the winsome Annie – all charmed and entertained with an effective blend of pathos and humour, and the group of flower sellers impressed with their mastery of the cockney dialect. The singing throughout was of the highest calibre – heart-rending solos for the main characters, a lovely pastiche from “The Fat Lady” and spirited choruses, not least from the Prep 5 pupils in their various guises. A terrific cast, totally engaged, as shown through their body language, supported by an evocative set, colourful costumes, spot-on lighting and sound effects, and an orchestral accompaniment that had our feet tapping to the many catchy numbers. What a triumph for Olivia – we all wanted more!

David Thomas


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