BWW Review: OLIVER! at Göteborgsoperan
The Opera in Gothenburg has chosen Lionel Bart's musical Oliver! based on Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist as the musical for the season 2019/2020. The opening night was the 14th of September and it will run till the 26th of April 2020.
Oliver! is directed and choreographed by Fredrik Benke Rydman.
The orphaned Oliver (Pontus Sköldberg) grows up in an orphanage where all the children get to eat is tasteless gruel. At one meal, Oliver is chosen to ask Widow Corney (Ann-Maria Hallgarn) for some more food. Mr. Bumble (Markus Pettersson) and the widow are furious at Oliver. So cheeky and ungrateful to ask for more food! They decide to sell him to the undertaker Mr Sowerberry (Lars Bethke) and Mrs Sowerberry (Åsa Fång) for £ 3. But it is not a better place for Oliver and he manager to run away. Alone he walks the streets of London until he is found by the young pickpocket Dodger (Max Johansson). Dodger takes him home to Mr. Fagin (David Lundqvist) where he is greated warmthly by him and all other pickpockets. Young Nancy (Caroline Gustafsson) takes him to his heart and care a bit extra for him. The next morning it is time for Oliver to go with the pickpockets out to learn the noble art of pickpocketing. One man, Mr Brownlow (Lars Hjertner) accuses Oliver of stealing from him and he is captured. Mr Brownlow realizes his mistake and invites Oliver to stay at his place. Fagin is worried that Oliver will betray them so it is decided they will bring him back with Nancy's help. Will they succeed?
The story about Oliver begins in London's slum and misery and ends in the finer neighborhoods which are clearly marked by the gray and worn clothes of the orphanage to become more and more colorful until they turn into a color splendor at the market in London's fine neighborhoods. However, the scenography is quite dark throughout the performance. In this set, the classic type of scenography by Frida Arvidsson is primarily used instead of the video design which was frequently used in the Hunchback of Notre Dame last season. The scenography is still impressive and offers some surprises and some flying movement which seems to be a must this season on the theaters.
The acting and singing is good, and the ensemble numbers are very impressive. The ensemble parts are especially charming and energetic when all the children are on stage. Caroline Gustafsson as Nancy has a really good voice and has an amazing empahty in "As Long as He Needs Me" and she gets the audience to clap the beat in the song "Ohm-pa-pa".
Oliver is a musical with many other well known songs such as "Oliver", "Food Glorious Food", "Consider Yourself" and "I Do Anything" so for many it will be a dear reunion. It is such a privilege to have the large live orchestra playing all these great songs.
Oliver is a musical for the whole family but it is a darker story and a bit harder to grasp for younger kids compared to example Peter Pan 2 - The revenge of Captain Hook which currently is played at Intiman in Stockholm.
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