Sunday 20 October 2019

'Oliver' was touch of musical class

Seamus Briscoe

Amidst the influx of top class musicians, singers, and entertainers who invaded the town of Drogheda for the Fleadh last week, the TLT staged the musical 'Oliver' which featured an all local cast in an outstanding production.

The staging of this musical was the brainchild of Patrick Leddy, who does so much unheralded work in nurturing talent, such as the 'School Stars' which has unearthed such amazing talent like soprano Amie Dyer and many others who have made their mark in the entertainment arena.

However, when it comes to producing a very ambitious musical such as 'Oliver' it takes great courage to assemble the necessary production team to stage such a show. 

Patrick Leddy's knowledge of local talent in the town of Drogheda is unbelievable and whilst his skills as a sound engineer is his forte, nevertheless, he has excellent nous in discerning top class potential in singing, dancing, acting and performing on stage.

He certainly hit the jackpot with the assembled team who came together to stage this magnificent musical. It was a spectacle that would do justice to Lionel Bart in any theatre. To the privileged that were fortunate to attend any of the four performances, it had to be a very memorable occasion. 

From the moment the curtain opened to reveal 'The Workhouse' scene it was clear that the entire troupe were extremely well rehearsed and made an instant impact with their synchronisation and choreography. 

This scene introduces the boy orphan, Oliver, and the performance thereafter of Charles Kirwan in the principle role was faultless.

This immediately settled the audience to the co-ordination of choreography, choral singing and excellent acting throughout the performance.

The following scene brought in the Artful Dodger and Tadgh O'Reilly fulfilled this role with a cheekiness and confidence depicting the character he portrayed.

His rendition of 'Consider Yourself' was the forerunner to his excellent singing. 'Fagin' was portrayed by the superb Shay Carry. The renowned Rathkenny man gave a performance which displayed his stage versatility.

Medbh Burns played the role of Widow Corney and, despite her first major part, she formed a great partnership with Mr Brumble, played by the excellent Paul Davis. It would be unfair to single out any member of a star studded show but the overall performance of Beth Murtagh as 'Nancy' was simply the stuff of West End. 

She was fabulous in her delivery of 'As Long As He Needs Me' which epitomised her talent and, given her heritage, suggests this young lady was born for the stage. The devious and evil Bill Sykes was portrayed by Conor Whearty, whose voice epitomised the character and persona of his character. 

The production was proliferated with marvellous performances from Joella Dhlamini as 'Bet', Sean Loughrey and Susan Savage as 'Mr & Mrs Sowberry', Luke Jenkins as 'Noah Clayhole', Laura Monk as 'Mrs Bedwin'. Cormac Parle excelled in the role of' Mr Brownlow' and Jack King is a young man who impressed in the role of 'Dr Grimwig'.  

The entire cast, who sang, danced and carried out their individual roles with such cohesion and synchronisation, which was a credit to their choreographer Annaleigh Meegan, and Sarah Louisa Nolan, who was the choral and overall director of the show. 

Aoife McGroggan was the stage manager and designed the sets whilst the impressive lighting was controlled by Gediminas Jokstas. The show had some nice little innovative and imaginative touches with a quick insertion of 'River Dance' and a nice little puppetry routine.  

The musical director, David Leddy, once again has shown himself to be a man of musical genius in managing to arrange the excellent musical backing for the entire production.  

Drogheda has had, in its past, a great tradition in musical productions. It is so satisfying to witness this tradition is still carrying on.  Every aspect of the staging of this production epitomised an excellent commitment from all involved. 

The outstanding aspect to the entire staging of this particular production was that came from the locality. Finally, the volunteer staff who look after the TLT patrons added a nice feature and set the mode by dressing up in period costume for the musical.

Drogheda Independent