Woodrow Wilson High School
For anyone looking for a laugh, Albert Einstein's delightful performance of "Oliver!" has got you covered! Based on the Charles Dickens novel and musically adapted by Lionel Bart, "Oliver!" follows the story of a young orphan, Oliver Twist, as he goes from home to home, eventually falling in with a group of pickpockets. The young cast of "Oliver!" brought their best energy to the stage as they portrayed both the comical and more serious elements of the classic battle between good and evil.
Setting the scene for a grueling house of hungry orphans and proving versatile for smooth set changes, the set was artfully designed and impressively executed in a manner appropriate for both the time period and mood of the show. Filling this space with their enthusiasm was the lively ensemble of the show, singing longingly for their food, glorious food. Leading the pack as Oliver Twist, Carl Parkin gave a heart-warming performance, hitting the nail on the head with his portrayal of such a young child using both his body language and soft voice.
In contrast with soft, sweet Oliver, Fagin, the leader of the band of pickpockets (Austin Patterson), commanded the stage with his exploding energy and over-the-top mannerisms, providing the show with a source of comedic entertainment. He left every audience member smiling as he led the excited bandits through "You've Got to Pick a Pocket or Two," and most notably when he surprised the audience with his impressive trombone skills. He partnered well with Aryana Briner, The Artful Dodger, as she was able to match his energy with her great excitement.
Adding to the comedy in the show, Mr Bumble (Steven Franco) and Widow Corney (Andie Bisk), the previous owners of Oliver, displayed charisma in their craft, as they worked with each other to make each of their scenes believable and entertaining. They achieved this through their comedic timing and stellar improv.
The musical elements of this show were not to be overlooked. Raviv Levone, playing the part of Nancy, showcased her dynamic, alto voice in both the ballads and uplifting songs. Her smooth vocals and belts added depth and emotion to the show as she sang about being blindly in love with her criminal partner, Bill Sikes (Matthew Bué). Bill brought out the evil in the show, as every time he came on, the lighting changed to an appropriate red. He utilized his commanding voice to build a frightening presence, which paired well with Nancy's more compassionate side of the relationship.
As a show set in England, accents are a key part of "Oliver!" and the cast did not fail to use these accents with comfort and verve. The large ensemble impressively sang with a unified accent, transporting the audience to England with them. In addition, characters such as Fagin and Mrs. Sowerberry (Adrianna Quaide) created their own unique accents and never broke character, a daunting task for even professional actors.
Albert Einstein's talented cast proved that there is always something new to bring to a show even as well-known as "Oliver!" They brought their enthusiasm, energy, and passion to the stage and gave an incredible performance of the classic story of Oliver Twist.
Langley High School
Oliver, glorious, Oliver! Albert Einstein High School's production of Oliver! asks you to "consider yourself at home," and enjoy a night out on the streets of London. Based on the novel by Charles Dickens, Lionel Bart's musical retelling boasts three Tony awards and Academy Award winning film adaptation.
When a young orphan by the name of Oliver Twist (Carl Parkin) dared to ask for some more gruel, he finds sold away from the workhouse he's known all his life. Soon, Oliver finds himself on the street, where he encounters various members of London's low-life. Featuring large musical numbers and a cast of eccentric characters, Albert Einstein High School's production of Oliver! takes the audience back to Dickensian London, where one boy searches for a home amongst thieves and crooks.
After meeting the flamboyant pickpocket known as "The Artful Dodger" (Aryana Briner), Oliver finds himself in the center of London's criminal underbelly. Dodger introduces him to the elderly and eccentric crook Fagin, played by Austin Patterson, who takes Oliver under his wing and teaches him to how to pickpocket. Patterson expertly played both lead character and comic relief, as well as having the audience in stitches as he gallivanted across the stage, trombone in tow. Oliver charms Nancy (Raviv Levone), one of Fagin's charges and the wife of the ferocious robber Bill Sikes (Matthew Bué). Levone portrays the genuine heartbreak of a woman both lost and in love; her clear voice striking haunting chords in the audience's hearts. Bué plays a terrifying counterpart to her as his imposing frame casts a shadow across the stage. When Oliver is arrested, Sikes and Fagin race to kidnap him back before the final showdown on the London Bridge.
Albert Einstein's production of Oliver! also featured a sizable ensemble of dancing drunkards, preteen pickpockets and well-to-do townspeople. The ensemble featured many talented vocalists, as well as several skilled dancers. Every member of the cast sported various British accents consistently throughout the show. Furthermore, the musical prowess of the student orchestra was on full display in every song, as well as in beautiful violin solos.
Vibrant and villainous, Albert Einstein High School's production of Oliver! will leave you asking for more.