28th April - 5th May 1984
Photographs by John Tustin
Production Officials
Director Audrey H. McL. Raistrick
Musical Director Jessie Whittaker
Choreographer Graham R. Edgington
Oliver Twist Damian Ward
Mr Bumble Alan Lee
Widow Corney Sylvia Fishwick
Mr Sowerberry Stanley Collinson
Mrs Sowerberry Norma Pollitt
Charlotte Beverley Foster
Noah Claypole Gary Hopkinson
The Artful Dodger Matthew Elliott
Fagin Bill Steel
Nancy Irene Bowers
Bet Fiona Steel
Mr Brownlow Alec Greaves
Bill Sykes Robin Foster
Mrs Bedwin Diane Tustin
Dr Grimwig Gordon Eckersley
Old Sally Gillian Kirby
Workhouse Boys & Fagin's Gang
David Banton, Vicki Banton, Lawrence Brannon, Helen Clarkson, Meredith Collinson, Timothy Collinson, Michelle Foster, Marcus Hall, Lindsay Jackson, Benjamin Lea, Samantha Matthews, Andrew Rostron, Alex McGrath
Carole Brooks, Glenys Collinson, Jennifer Edgington, Joyce Foster, Hazel Gray, Elaine Greenhalgh, Barbara Haslam, Gillian Kirby, Barbara Martin, Glenys Poole, Mary Pycroft, Vicki Spencer, Margaret Steel, Betty Towler, Ruth Wilcock, Dorothy Yardley, Norman Bowers, Colin Crompton, Jonathan Davies, Alex Goodwin, Adrian Pollitt, David Raistrick, Bert Rothwell, Mike Taylor, Andrew Turton, Martin Wadsworth, Graham Yardley

Bolton Evening News Review
If there were prizes to hand out for Walmsley Church AODS’ production of “Oliver!” I would be happy to present them. It’s a highly successful show for which, I gather, they’ve sold about 2,300 seats for the week’s run. You won’t even get in for the Saturday matinee.

Lionel Bart’s 25-years old musical is full of catchy tunes, of course, a mixture of Tin Pan Alley and Yiddish folk melodies. And the music in turn invests Dickens’ low life characters with tremendous energy and liveliness.

Walmsley’s key asset, in addition to fine teamwork, is a scaled down version of Sean Kenny’s timbered set, as used in the original London show. It switches the action from thieves’ kitchen to to Sowerberry’s funeral parlour and on to London Bridge in a matter of seconds.

Audrey McL. Raistrick’s production sustains a fine sense of momentum, from the bouncy opening chorus of “Food, Glorious Food” through to Fagin’s wistful “Reviewing the Situation”.

Graham Edgington makes an impressive debut as choreographer, skilfully reconstructing as much of the professional staging as was feasible, and there’s a sensitive rapport between stage and pit under Jessie Whittaker’s baton.

Alan Lee is a jovial Mr Bumble, Stanley Collinson is a ghoulish Sowerberry, and Matthew Elliott is an appealing Artful Dodger. But the real scene stealers are Bill Steel’s Fagin, a true vaudeville villain, and Irene Bowers (who bears a startling resemblance to Esther Rantzen) as the golden-hearted Nancy. The squad of ragamuffins, led by Damian Ward’s Oliver, are infectiously lively.

Ron Lawson
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