Review submitted by Lila York of Chantilly High School.
Thievery. Hunger. Murder. These three simple words make up Oliver Twist’s life as soon as he pleads “please sir, I want some more.” With catchy songs and flashy choreography, Albert Einstein High School’s production of Lionel Bart’s “Oliver!” will leave you saying just that; minus the thievery, hunger, and murder after of course.
With music and lyrics by Lionel Bart, “Oliver!” Is based on the book “Oliver Twist” by Charles Dickens. Winning the Tony Award for Best Musical Score in 1963, this classic musical features chipper songs that the audience will be humming for weeks.
As the dramatic fog sets the stage in Victorian England, the audience meets the orphaned boy Oliver Twist. As he navigates through London, Oliver gets entwined in the tricky art of pick-pocketing for the outlandish Fagin. Along his journey, he meets a variety of people such as the charismatic Artful Dodger, warm-hearted Nancy, and the dangerous Bill Sikes. With a hint of crime, Oliver searches for a family, a home, and, most importantly, love. With strong leads, impressive technical elements, and a little “Oom Pah-Pah” Albert Einstein’s Lionel Bart’s Oliver! beautifully demonstrates the struggles of love and life.
Waltzing on stage from first to last line is Fagin (Austin Patterson). With gray hair, an eccentric personality, and contagious energy, Patterson charmed the audience in every scene. With a trombone in hand, Patterson perfectly portrays the interesting character dealing with the conflicts of thievery. As he faces this, Nancy (Raviv Levone) elegantly captures the harshness of blind love. Levone’s passionate acting and powerful vocals in the moving song “As Long as He Needs Me” causes a wave of emotion to pass through the audience.
Working for Fagin with a sweet voice is Oliver Twist (Carl Parkin). Parkin flawlessly portrays the spirit of a scared 11-year-old boy just trying to find love in an intimidating world. Right by his side is the spritely Artful Dodger (Aryana Briner). With electric energy, Briner truly captures the spirit of a young boy filled to the brim with enthusiasm. However, every story has to have a villain and Matthew Bu (Bill Sikes) does an astounding job. Always with a metal bar in hand, Bu’s frightening performance sparks fear throughout the auditorium. Throughout this musical, the large ensemble brings to life busy London. Whether in the bar, on the street, or in an orphanage, the ensemble brings energy to the stage along with harmonies and dances.
Meanwhile, backstage, the technical elements were equally as amazing as onstage. Under the swift stage management (by Zahava Frank) and wearing costumes to blend in, the stage crew briskly changes scenes. The lighting (by Sachi Sakaniwa and the AEHS Lighting Team) portrays the mood of every scene phenomenally. By changing the colors of the cyclorama, the lighting team evoked emotion in every scene beautifully. Additionally, the elaborate props (by Melanie Kroon and AEHS Props) such as a paper mache cake and life-like fire enhances the show.
With energetic leads, an engaging ensemble, and a powerful plot, Albert Einstein High School’s production of Lionel Bart’s “Oliver!” leaves the audience saying “I’d do Anything’ to see that show again!”
The performance reviewed was from Saturday, 03/09/2019.
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