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Brookside Theatre to stage classic feel-good musical Oliver! in Romford

PUBLISHED: 15:00 02 September 2019

The cast of the upcoming musical Oliver at Brookside Theatre in Romford. Picture: Mark Sepple

The cast of the upcoming musical Oliver at Brookside Theatre in Romford. Picture: Mark Sepple

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The unforgettable story of the boy who asked for more is coming to Romford's Brookside Theatre.

Billy Mears as Oliver in Brookside Theatre's musical Oliver. Picture: Mark SeppleBilly Mears as Oliver in Brookside Theatre's musical Oliver. Picture: Mark Sepple

Based on Charles Dickens' classic novel, the musical Oliver! follows the highs and lows of the poor orphan Oliver Twist.

From the orphanage to the mean streets of London, the ever optimistic Oliver strives to survive through thick and thin.

He meets a host of well-known characters on his journey, including Nancy, Bill Sikes, the Artful Dodger and of course the equal parts loveable and villainous Fagin.

Brookside Theatre's production features local actors, including Stuart Crawley, from Romford, playing the mean Mr Bumble.

Stuart said he was thrilled to be part of the legendary "please can I have some more" scene in the musical.

"It's such a brilliant scene," he said.

Murray Peat as the Artful Dodger in Brookside Theatre's musical Oliver. Picture: Mark SeppleMurray Peat as the Artful Dodger in Brookside Theatre's musical Oliver. Picture: Mark Sepple

"I love doing it because I get to raise my voice quite a few times.

"I think everyone is waiting for that line from Oliver."

Alongside his acting role, Stuart has been working as a vocal coach to help the performers with their harmonies.

He added: "The rehearsals are going extremely well, I think it's going to be a fabulous show.

"One of the most famous songs has to be As Long As He Needs Me because it has been sung by so many strong female artists like Georgia Brown and Shirley Bassey.

"Laura sings it phenomenally."

Lucas Pozzey as Bill Sykes and Laura Denmar as Nancy in Brookside Theatre's musical Oliver. Picture: Mark SeppleLucas Pozzey as Bill Sykes and Laura Denmar as Nancy in Brookside Theatre's musical Oliver. Picture: Mark Sepple

Marie Watson, also from Romford, takes on the role of Mr Bumble's partner as the conniving Widow Comey.

"She is very mean, horrible and power hungry," said Marie.
"She actually hates children despite running the workshop, and she really wants to get together with Mr Bumble.

"We're kind of the pantomime duo of the show."

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Marie's son Caleb Watson, 11, also performs in the show, as one of the boys in Fagin's gang.

She said: "The boys have spent all summer dancing and rehearsing. They're so excited to perform the show.
"There are a few professional actors too - it's a real mix of people."

L-R: Billy Mears as Oliver and Stuart Crawley as Mr Bumble in Brookside Theatre's musical Oliver. Picture: Mark SeppleL-R: Billy Mears as Oliver and Stuart Crawley as Mr Bumble in Brookside Theatre's musical Oliver. Picture: Mark Sepple

The musical features Lionel Bart's famous songs including Food Glorious Food, Consider Yourself, You've Got To Pick A Pocket or Two and I'd Do Anything.

Laura Denmar, who plays Nancy, said she is looking forward to singing the iconic song, As Long As He Needs Me.

"It's such a great classic song," she said.

"I've also really enjoyed working with the kids. It's a Fine Life is a great number."

The actor from Manor House said playing Nancy has always been her dream.

"She's not a typical leading lady as she's got more of a gritty character that I think Londoners can relate to.

"She's a fiercely brave woman stuck in the constraints of a male dominated society.

"The whole context of the story is actually very dark and bleak and that's what we're trying to produce.

"I think for British people it's a great reflection of what life was like back then."

Lucas Pozzey from Maida Vale plays the role of the hot-tempered Bill Sikes.

"Victorian London was a difficult time, and many people grew up on the streets.
"Bill is trying to make his own way and he learns that the only way to make a living is to intimidate people.

"One of my favourite songs is I'd Do Anything. It's just a really sweet moment, and then there a few moments like that where Bill comes in and just ruins everything."

Theatre manager Jai Sepple, who also plays Fagin, said he was delighted to bring this classic musical to the borough.

He added: "We are equally proud to say that this will be the first production where the audience will be able to take advantage of our new raked theatre seating thanks to Veoila UK, whose kind and invaluable contribution has truly helped me move the Brookside Theatre into a new era."

Oliver! runs from Wednesday, September 11 to Sunday, September 15 at the Brookside Theatre in Eastern Road, Romford.

Visit brooksidetheatre.com or call 01708 755775 for tickets.

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