IN A paupers' workhouse in Victorian England, children line the benches, each eating a miserable bowl of gruel.
A lone voice utters the words - "Please sir, I want some more".
The ensuing pandemonium is played out in the title song as the orphan Oliver Twist is pursued and captured, then sold to the appalling undertaker, Mr Sowerberry (Mike Sheehan).
This provides the first hint of Oliver's mystery past.
The contrast between the innocent Oliver and the unscrupulous adults is effectively conveyed by 10-year-old local actor Landon Broadley.
The miserly, self-righteous workhouse superintendent Mr Bumble (Rod Ramsay) is true to his name.
His performance and those of his lady friend Widow Corney (Judith Brazenor) and Sowerberry are comic highlights in Ballina Players' production of the musical Oliver!
Much of the plot of this piece is revealed through songs with familiar lyrics and toe-tapping tunes.
In many songs, the role of the large cast of children is integral.
The musical is an adaptation by Lionel Burt of Charles Dickens' classic novel, Oliver Twist.
Oliver! will be staged at the Players Theatre from June 12 to July 4.
Evening performances will start at 8pm and Sunday matinees at 2pm.
Opening night will be on Friday, June 12.
Book online at http://www.ballinaplayers.com.au or at Just Funkin Music, 6686 2440.
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