Take a couple of musical theatre’s best loved orphans, mix in a feisty flower girl and you have a wonderful spread of heart-warming entertainment.
It is to the credit of Farlington Prep School that they gave the audience a show which combined spectacle, pacey dialogue and foot-tapping songs. A cast of nearly fifty girls needed to effect lightning changes, and they did this with true professionalism, always slick and looking tremendous in a colourful array of costumes.
As well as the outstanding main characters of Eliza, Olivia and Annie there were perfectly judged cameos and “guest appearances”: Sherlock Holmes, of course, and Watson; a conniving Fagin; a “humbugging” Scrooge and even a Wagnerian heroine complete with horned helmet. Eliza and her Covent Garden cronies were hilarious with their Cockney accents and some of the loudest laughs of the evening were for their witty malapropisms.
The songs are clever - often in the Lionel Bart idiom - but the show offers scope for the performers to show their skills in other styles. The audience was especially appreciative of the Artful Dodger’s patter straight out of Gilbert and Sullivan; whilst the snooty opera crowd sing, act and react in a way which reproduces some of the fun of the “Ascot Gavotte”.
Yes, what a spread of talent with gutsy choruses, captivating acting and vibrant colour. Another hit for the talented co-directors Lucy Cooper and Anne Stearns.
Review on Farlington’s Prep School production, ‘Olivia! ‘by David Thomas. Pictures courtesy of Splaat Media.