Friday, October 16, 2009
Among the wishful, including those who dream of a life in the islands are the doubtful, naysayers who proclaim there’s just nothing to do except lay on a beach. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But if my night at City Hall Theatre is any indication, those aforementioned curmudgeons should start looking into island real estate, pronto. Who says there’s no culture in Bermuda? Last night I attended the Gilbert & Sullivan production of Oliver!—based on the Charles Dickens novel, the musical follows a young orphan who hooks up with a gang of hooligans only to be rescued by an older Daddy Warbucks type who realizes the boy is indeed his grandson. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from the community production, even after I paid a whopping $55 a ticket. But after watching Act One with its rousing opener, Food Glorious Food, sung by a troupe of adorable schoolchildren with real and/or faked English accents, I couldn’t wait for Act Two. (That, plus I was genuinely eager to see how my drinks would magically appear at intermission after I pre-ordered them before the show. What genius!). Highlights included Emma Muggleton’s Nancy—whose powerhouse performance of As Long As He Needs Me got the night’s loudest applause—and eleven-year-old Rian Michelsen, who captured the hopeful spirit of orphaned Oliver to a tee. Special accolades go to set designer Cleo Pettitt, who with the help of her astute design team created believable reproductions of old school London including dark city streets, bright town squares, and antique-adorned homes. Even the lighting was right on: During Act Two’s Who Will Buy?—a song that was expertly-harmonized by Oliver and company—a span of light shone from above illuminating Oliver’s face as if the sun had found its way indoors. All in all an impressive performance, although I just wish I was around for last year’s production of the Full Monty. Nudity, in Bermuda? Now that would be a sight to see.