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Oliver! at Koorliny Arts Centre

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Please, have some more Oliver back on stage
Oliver!, Koorliny Arts Centre, musical, family, kids, theatre, Oliver Twist, Laughing Horse Productions, school holidays, performing arts
Please sir, can I have some more? Oliver! features Madison Couzens, left, Annik Spack, Lacey Allen, Duncan Ferguson, Sophie Kirk and Amber Salathiel as some very hungry children. Picture: Zoe Jay


Consider yourself at home with the award-winning Broadway musical Oliver! at the Koorliny Arts Centre, ideal for audiences of all ages. Presented by Laughing Horse Productions and directed by Adam Salathiel, the show is based on the Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist and follows the adventures of a young orphan in 19th century England.

The title character encounters numerous setbacks in his quest to find security and happiness, after being sold from an orphanage to a cruel undertaker and then falling in with a gang of young pickpockets. "While working on a number of shows for Laughing Horse Productions with young performers, I went looking for a similar production that could showcase their talents but also have senior performers to help guide the younger ones," Adam said.

Oliver!, Koorliny Arts Centre, musical, family, kids, theatre, Oliver Twist, Laughing Horse Productions, school holidays, performing arts
Peter Carr strikes an intimidating pose as Bill Sikes in Oliver! Picture: Zoe Jay

"Oliver! met that requirement and, after listening to the music, how can someone not fall in love with Oliver asking Where Is Love? or tap their toe to Oom-Pah-Pah? It's one of those shows that everyone can enjoy, despite it being set in the dark macabre world of 19th century London. It has some quite dark moments but also some amazing touches of love and compassion that will take audiences on an amazing emotional roller coaster journey."

Adam said his initial concerns were casting the child roles, such as Oliver and the Artful Dodger but this changed once into rehearsals. "I'm now concerned about the adults and making sure they keep up with the youthful exuberance and passion for learning new routines and songs the younger performers have!" he said.

"It's amazing how quickly the performers learn new dances and songs, breathing life into their characters and engaging with other cast members with a willingness to learn that makes my role as the director so much easier. My main challenge is drilling the 19th century London costuming and speech into the actors and not allowing them to sound too modern."

Oliver!, Koorliny Arts Centre, musical, family, kids, theatre, Oliver Twist, Laughing Horse Productions, school holidays, performing arts
Oliver! has an extended cast that includes Sophie Byrnes, left, Tara Butt, Abbey Allen, Edan Frazer, Lili Thoms, Val Geeves, Eve-Scarlett Trower, Kelly Salathiel, Mishka Miller and Kelsey Morandin. Picture: Zoe Jay


First performing as a 10-year-old, Adam has been an actor, director, producer and lighting and sound operator with a diverse range of metropolitan and regional theatre companies. His current involvement is with Laughing Horse Productions where he has directed The Pirates of Penzance, Kecks, Shirley Valentine, Cut It Out, Backstage and Once Upon A Mattress.

Adam has also scored several awards and nominations over the years for best-supporting actor, director, production, stage manager, costumes and set. "Oliver! appealed because it's one of those productions that everyone knows," he said. "From the moment Oliver utters those time-immortal words 'Please sir, can I have some more?' until the final scene, audiences will be transported back to the old streets of London."

Oliver!, Koorliny Arts Centre, musical, family, kids, theatre, Oliver Twist, Laughing Horse Productions, school holidays, performing arts
Georgia McGivern as Nancy in Oliver! Picture: Zoe Jay


Georgia McGivern plays Nancy, a character with a heart of gold. "She's sympathetic, noble and truly the warm, motherly energy of the show," she said. "Nancy is constantly giving love and strives to see the best in everyone and everything, while also being streetwise and painfully aware of the dangerous people she surrounds herself with.

"She dreams of a better life but, at the same time, truly believes people like her don't deserve it and that it's too late. With Oliver, she sees herself and her stolen youth in him, which is why she's so determined to keep him from the life she was forced into."

Oliver!, Koorliny Arts Centre, musical, family, kids, theatre, Oliver Twist, Laughing Horse Productions, school holidays, performing arts
The Artful Dodger (Kelsey Morandin, left), Oliver Twist (Duncan Ferguson) and Nancy (Georgia McGivern) in the musical Oliver! Picture: Zoe Jay


The main challenge, according to Georgia, is putting herself into the headspace of living in absolutely poverty in Victorian London. "I've done a lot of personal research for this role and have learnt so much about what it would have been like for Nancy," she said. "It has definitely given me a whole new appreciation for her and is testament to her strength and resilience."

Performing from age eight, Georgia studied at John Curtin College of the Arts and WA Academy of Performing Arts and has performed in numerous productions with the Koorliny Arts Centre and Stray Cats, Nine Lives and Mandurah Little Theatres. In 2012, she was named best (other than a lead) in a musical at the annual Finley Awards for her role in Hairspray.

Oliver!, Koorliny Arts Centre, musical, family, kids, theatre, Oliver Twist, Laughing Horse Productions, school holidays, performing arts
Georgia McGivern has always adored the role of Nancy and is now playing the part. Picture: Zoe Jay

"Oliver! appealed because it's a musical theatre classic," Gerogia said. "My parents made sure I grew up with the best musical influences and the music from Oliver! was definitely a staple in our house.

"I saw the musical movie when I was very little and was absolutely drawn to it, specifically Nancy. It's a role I have always adored and dreamt of playing and I love that all different kinds of people of all ages love and appreciate [I]Oliver![/I]"

Oliver!, Koorliny Arts Centre, musical, family, kids, theatre, Oliver Twist, Laughing Horse Productions, school holidays, performing arts
Kelsey Morandin is the Artful Dodger. Picture: Zoe Jay


Oliver! plays at 7.30pm July 12, 13, 19 and 20 with 2pm matinees July 13 and 20. Tickets are $25, $23 concession and $20 children book at https://koorliny.com.au/oliver or on 9467 7118. The Koorliny Arts Centre is on Sulphur Road, Kwinana.

Note: all photos shot on location at Smirks Cottage, thanks to the Kwinana Heritage Group.


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Why? Oliver! resonates with audiences not only due to its famous source material written by Charles Dickens but also for the story's universal concept of home and of family.
When: 7.30pm July 12, 13, 19 & 20; 2pm July 13 & 20
Phone: 9467 7118
Where: Koorliny Arts Centre, Sulphur Road, Kwinana
Cost: $25, $23 concession, $20 children
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