Review: Oliver!, Ipswich Operatic and Dramatic Society, Ipswich Regent, until April 21

Dickensian London has never looked so good. Beautifully staged, lit and scored; the multi-award winning company certainly put their own brand of oom-pah-pah into the classic musical while retaining the charm that makes it so popular.

A tale of love and family ties seen through the eyes of young Oliver Twist, the performances and vocals were solid throughout. You couldn’t help but sing along to the marvellous music.

A clear stand-out for me was Sadie Cole as Nancy; who had an amazing voice and the right mix of fiestiness and vulnerability - especially when it came to her blind love for bad boy Bill Sikes.

Nine-year-old Louis Markham showed maturity beyond his years in the lead role of Oliver.

The set was fantastic and, together with the lighting, conjured up the perfect mix of menace, vice and divisions in class.

One of the show’s great strengths, unfortunately the set was also its greatest weakness.

The pace suffered from overly long scene changes and having stage hands in contemporary clothing clearly visible on occasion took you out of the moment.

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These niggles aside, overall it was another strong showing by IODS that is bound to leave audiences wanting more.

WAYNE SAVAGE

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