GREG LAMBERT writes...A young man with showbiz in his blood stole the show as LADOS brought Oliver to the Grand Theatre stage.
Ewan Morrell’s great grandfather was Eddie Morrell, the man behind the famous Starlights shows on the old Central Pier in Morecambe.
Cast in the lead role, young Ewan brought back memories of Mark Lester, who famously played young master Twist in the Lionel Bart movie version of the classic musical.
With his shock of blond hair, high-pitched vocals and look of innocence, he was perfect for drawing sympathy from the packed Grand audience.
Ewan led a cast of children who took on the roles of the workhouse urchins and Fagin’s thieves with aplomb.
Their rendition of ‘Food Glorious Food’ kicked off the production, indeed, quite gloriously.
Longtime LADOS performer John Beamer underwent quite a transformation to take on Fagin.
His scenes with the children in the Thieves Kitchen were the most dynamic of the show, with the talented duo of Anna Webster (Nancy) and Shannon Whittle (Bet) joining them in fine voice for ‘It’s a Fine Life’ and ‘I’d Do Anything’. The quality of singing throughout, in fact, was most impressive, with ‘Who Will Buy?’ another particularly rousing number.
John Haydock was a menacing Bill Sikes and Bullseye, ironically played by a dog called Sykes, was well-behaved throughout.
Ewan and Nancy conveyed the most emotional musical performances of the night with ‘Where Is Love’ and ‘As Long As He Needs Me’ receiving loud ovations from the Grand Theatre throng.
Ewan played Oliver on the Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights of the run, with Ben Jeffery taking on the role on the alternate days.
Similarly The Artful Dodger role was shared between Ross Dorrington and Oliver Ip. Co-producers were Suzanne Ward and Sarah Pye.