Director Helen Hart not only directed and choreographed a cast of 27, but bravely met the challenge of taking over the role of Nancy with only three days' rehearsal, when actress Becky Frank was unable to perform due to illness. She was a little "mature" for the role, but overcame that with sincerity, and from my halfway-back row didn't look a day over 30. Likewise Philip Franke was a little old for Artful Dodger, but overcame that with impish charm.
James Geer was outstanding as Mr. Bumble, bringing an impressive singing voice as well as a large measure of attitude to his bombastic character, well foiled by an animated Widow Corney (Suzanne MacLaren). Mike Stewart played Fagin with a twinkle in his eye and a spring in his step; I particularly liked his solo number "Reviewing the Situation." Samantha Stanton was a sweet Oliver, with a pure, angelic voice.
Dean Southwell's simple but serviceable set offered stairs and levels and a "bridge" and "underground" opening in Fagin's retreat. The many set changes were well managed with furniture to keep the action moving between scenes.
Blue Light Players supports the families of fallen police officers. More info at www.bluelightplayers.com
OLIVER! continues next Friday and Saturday, March 3 & 4 at 7 pm at Hannah Center.