With 2012 being the 200th anniversary of Charles Dicken’s birth there is no more fitting way to pay tribute to one of the greatest English authors of all time that enjoying a musical based on one of his books.
The Kampala Amateur Dramatics Society (KADS) has produced OLIVER!, a musical based on Dicken’s classic book, Oliver Twist. The book was the first of its kind to feature children as main characters as well as to highlight the social ills that faced orphans and street children in Victorian England.
The musical opens in a workhouse in England with a cast of children singing the famous song, �?Food, Glorious Food’ and quickly moves to highlight the life of one orphan, Oliver, who dares to ask for a second helping. His plight continues tumultuously through the streets of London with the cast of criminals fate throws his way as well as the miscellany of amusing adult characters which only serve to highlight the hopelessness of his situation. Despite this, Oliver! is surprisingly an uplifting and fun musical with catchy tunes and you find yourself rooting for plucky Oliver at each bad turn life hands him.
Oliver! is a community theatre production and like all community theatre it is endearing and delightful because of the community producing it. The production demonstrates the efforts of the 50+ cast and crew who are entirely voluntary and have been rehearsing over the past three months meeting up to three times a week. The charm of the musical is found in its unpolished nature proving it the perfect for a community production where the audience feels comfortable laughing out loud at, and with, the cast.
The music is provided by a remarkably professional group of musicians playing live and the choreography is simple and clean but impressive given the amount of actors involved in some of the main numbers.
Oliver! proves to be a heart-warming experience and well worth the evening at the theatre – something rarely to be found in Kampala. It would also be a good pick for a rainy Saturday afternoon with the kids (there are two, 2:30pm matinees) or a school trip.
The play opened last night, Thursday, 24May but there are six shows left and tickets will go quickly so make sure to drop by National Theatre to get yours soon. All shows are in the main theatre. Show times are:
Tonight: Friday, 25th May, 7:30pm
Saturday, 26th May, 2:30pm and 7:30pm
Friday, 1st June, 7:30pm
Saturday, 2nd June 2:30pm and 7:30pm.