Can I have some more?: Barney Clark Davies as Oliver Twist.
Can I have some more?: Barney Clark Davies as Oliver Twist.
The Gilbert & Sullivan Society is celebrating its 35th anniversary in style with a fun-for-all-the-family production of Oliver!

A cast of 64 adults and children are currently getting ready to take the stage by storm in this year's major G&S production.

To mark its milestone year the theatre company has chosen "a family show that appeals to all."

Based on the novel by Charles Dickens, the popular West End and Broadway musical tells the story of an orphan who runs away and hooks up with a group of boys trained to be pickpockets by an elderly ­mentor.

Oliver! - with music and lyrics by Lionel Bart - features the much-loved songs Food, Glorious Food , Consider Yourself, I'd Do Anything and You've Got to Pick a Pocket or Two.

Oliver! will be performed at City Hall Theatre from Wednesday, October 7 to Saturday, October 17. Nightly performances will be at 8pm with a matinee at 3pm instead of a nightly performance on Sunday, October 11. The director and musical director will be brought in from England with the cast featuring a good mix of "familiar and new faces."

Spectacular

G&S has made a name for itself with spectacular annual shows such as The Full Monty, Dreamgirls, Les Miserables, Evita, and Me and My Girl to name just a few.

Jane Vickers, who is on board of G&S, said: "We have an excellent cast and the most wonderful thing is that there is a really large children's chorus.

"This is a really good production to get the kids involved. It's great to get children involved in the theatre at such a young age."

Last fall's G&S production of The Full Monty won the 2008 Best of Bermuda award for best dramatic performance by The Bermudian.

Ms Vickers said that as The Fully Monty "raised a few eyebrows" as an adult-based show, they want to do something this year "for the whole family."

The director of Oliver! will be Karen Bruce and musical director is Mark Dorrell, who will both be visiting from the U.K.

Bruce's recent theatre credits as director and choreographer include several U.K. tours of Footloose, Fame, The Wedding Singer and a worldwide tour of Saturday Night Fever. She also choreographed the opening ceremony for the 2001 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

Dorrell is currently head of music for the three year BA (Hons) degree course in Musical Theatre at the Arts Educational School in London. He has been a musical supervisor for theatrical productions such as It's a Wonderful Life, Singing in the Rain, The Sound of Music and Oklahoma! He is no stranger to Bermuda having been the head of keyboard studies at the Bermuda School of Music from 2000 to 2003.

The two lead roles will be played by young thespians from Warwick Academy; Ryan Michelsen, 11, will be Oliver and Joshua Snelling, 12, will be the Artful Dodger.

While Emma Muggleton and Kelvin Hastings-Smith - who are used to treading the boards - will play the roles of Nancy and Fagin.

And if you are interested, G&S are still looking for the right person to play Mr. Sowberry.

G&S had a total of 105 boys and girls aged 8 to 12 auditioning for just 30 parts.

The demand from children interested in drama has prompted them to hold a youth summer camp next year. The drama camp will be held in July and August 2010 at The Bermuda School of Music.

G&S started life 35 years ago when the Warwick Academy alumni set up the Warwick Players.

G&S is now "very much a community project" that relies on the hard work of volunteers. Marjorie Stanton has been president for a staggering 25 years.

Mrs. Vickers said: "It's amazing that what started as a small group has flourished so much over the years.

"To have been going 35 years is a great achievement and it's all thanks to the volunteers."

She added: "Having a healthy arts scene certainly makes for a healthy and productive society."

G&S is always looking for volunteers to help out when needed; from becoming a board member, to helping back stage to being a host family for visiting directors.

If you want to volunteer call Marjorie Stanton on 295-3218 for more details. For more information about the Gilbert & Sullivan Society visit www.gands.bm
Who's in Oliver!?

- Ryan Michelsen - Oliver

- Joshua Snelling - Artful Dodger

- Kelvin Hastings-Smith - Fagin

- Emma Muggleton - Nancy

- Jenny Burrell - Widow

- Carol Birch - Mrs. Bedwin

- Kathy Keane - Old Sally

- Paul Matthews - Bill Sykes

- Eugene DeRosa - Mr. Bumble

- Libby Durrant - Mrs. Sowberry

- Rowan Vickers - Noah