GSAL Arts, we want some more

Friday 9 March 2018

Lauren McGaun Y12 reviews this week’s production of Oliver! The Musical, a team effort between the drama and music departments at The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL):

Once again GSAL Arts delivers with a just short of award-winning musical spectacular, Oliver!

From the moment the orphans first appear on the steps they’re seen as angelic, making their life of misery even more upsetting for the audience. “Greedy” Oliver (Tom Kelly) is central in showing these orphans’ hardships in the workhouse and greater London. His exhausted collapse after his phenomenal ballad of Lionel Bart’s Where is Love? unsettles the audience who hope and pray Oliver will eventually have a better life.

For a student led performance, it is surprising to see the unlikely but impressive romance blossom between Mr Nigel Day and Megan Clark as Mr Bumble and Widow Corney. The audience love how timid Mr Bumble is compared to the widow’s stunning dominance.

Another shock to the crowd is just how brilliant Oliver Pickering is at acting out the harsh, evil villain Bill Sykes, a Danny Dyer of the 19th century. The realism of Bill and Nancy’s (Lucy-Anne Olutayo-Daniels) abusive relationship is utterly shocking to the audience. When their lives come to an abrupt end it is all the more heart wrenching, despite many already knowing the story.

Other notable characters include the famous, comical duo of Fagin and Dodger (George Foster and Rhys Gannon) who make the audience chuckle throughout and Charlotte (Hannah Knowles) who brings Oliver right into the 21st century, epitomising an everyday, miserable teenager. Many performers take on several roles highlighting the exquisite versatility of the cast.

GSAL’s musical talent is in no way lacking, with the orchestra of students (Y9 to Y13) and music teachers impressing throughout under musical director Mr Niall Doherty.

A personal highlight of mine is when Tina Nutt’s tech team go all out on the budget producing a smoke filled setting, alongside thundered blue lighting with rain sounds trickling. This realistic and emotional scene is accompanied by Nancy’s heartfelt melody of As Long As He Needs Me.

The show, directed by Mrs Natalie Poyser, was once again an excellent display of GSAL’s talents from the tech, to estates, to the actors and singers, the orchestra and even the refreshments!

So please Mrs Woodroofe, can we have some more of these excellent GSAL arts performances?

Photo: George Foster as Fagin and Tom Kelly as Oliver (photo by Steve Bootle Photography)

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