Springers & Offspringers
Jim Hutchon was at the Civic for the opening night ...
Fiona Lipscombe’s production of Oliver is arguably the best the group has ever done. The action was non-stop and expert, the singing rich and varied, the sets breathtaking and the costumes a feast for the eyes. Real West End standard. This was a demanding collaboration between Springers and Offspringers with a cast of 70 – many of them children - who were expertly choreographed and didn’t put a foot wrong.
The main chorus children’s songs – ‘Food’ and ‘Consider Yourself’ - were handled with cheerful enthusiasm and discipline, along with some confident acting and timing – especially from Callum Bates as Oliver and James Raynal as the Dodger. Melissa Smart as Nancy put forward a superb music hall act, with a great voice and stagecraft without ever stepping out of character, while Simon Brett and Deborah Anderson completed a well judged duo ensemble as the Bumbles. Michael Dunion as Fagin was first class, with a brilliant take on this complex character and beautifully modulated voicing.
As always, Springers and Offspringers chorus work is their main strength, and they excelled in the rounded, rich, tones of Bart’s work with an equally rich orchestral accompaniment under the control of MD Ian Myers. I guess my favourite of the evening though, was a perfectly balanced rendition of the ‘Who Will Buy’ quartet of street sellers, Olivia Gooding, Barry Miles, Natalie Shultz and Sharon Gardner, with Callum Bates’ Oliver .
photograph: Aaron T Crowe photography