I was fortunate to be among the hall of Yass residents transported to the darkened cobblestone streets of old London complete with milkmaids, rose sellers and of course, shady pick-pockets for Wednesday night's impressive opening night of Oliver!
Clearly, months of preparation went into the making of this production from the thoughtful costume and make-up to detailed props, the orchestra's superb accompaniment and artfully done backdrops.
Helping set the scene were scores of antiques, a flickering digital fire and even a real coffin!
Poppy Jones as Oliver won the hearts of the audience with her angelic singing, feisty fisticuffs and an all-around convincing portrayal of the innocent workhouse run-away orphan quickly brought under the wing of the crew of pick-pockets by the roguish Artful Dodger, delightfully brought to life by Mitchell Reynish.
We soon meet Fagin played by D'Artagnan Lewis who had the audience laughing along with his art-of-the-thief antics. Max Delander thrilled us with his intimidating Bill Sykes performance and Bronwyn Kemp shined as the cheeky and passionate Nancy, showing her depth of acting and singing skills with songs, Oom Pah Pah and 'As Long As He Needs Me'.
Of special mention, Jaxyn Vickers as Mr Bumble and Kitty Duncan as Widow Corney quickly won over the audience in their opening roles and they beautifully improvised their way through a technical glitch.
Chelsea Shannon (Mrs Sowerberry), Ella Widdows (Mr Sowerberry) and Tristan Penfold (Mr Brownlow) shone in their respective roles while a little upstart thief character called Nipper, played by Floyd Cummings, kept stealing the audience's attention. This London stringer predicts a greater role might be in store for this enthusiastic young actor in the future.
Lastly, whoever played the statue under which Oliver and Dodger meet, you literally "rock".