THERE was plenty of enthusiasm during Cowes Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society’s production of Oliver!
Although the show was rough around the edges on opening night, there was plenty to like about this classic musical.
Across the run, the show had two Olivers, two Artful Dodgers, two Nancys and two Bill Sykes, which gives an indication of how many actors there are in the company.
Leon Prince shone as poor orphaned Oliver on opening night — a role taken by Jake Burland later in the run.
Nicola Berryman was excellent as Widow Corney and I particularly liked her rendition of I Shall Scream, performed with John Plumbly as Mr Bumble.
Paul Stevens was the perfect likeable rogue Fagin, while Sam Robertson was good as the Artful Dodger — a role shared with Nick Weightman. Becci Wilcox was a tour de force as Nancy, a character also played by Abbie Lennon, while Hannah Brewer gave a strong performance as her sidekick, Bet.
Nick Simmonds was nasty Bill Sykes, a role shared with Wayne Child, while Bob French stepped in at short notice to play Mr Brownlow with aplomb.
There was plenty of talent in the smaller roles — Michael Whitwam was funny as batty Dr Grimwig; Gwen Curling was likeable as Mrs Bedwin, Daphne Brown was good as Old Sally and Paul Birch and Sue Richards played funeral directors Mr and Mrs Sowerberry.
Actors were sometimes slow to leave the stage and some of the scene changes could have been slicker but the choreography, props and costumes were good, as was the music, under the baton of musical director Simon Keates.