A twist on a classic musical

Four Seasons brings family-friendly musical theatre to the West Shore

Four Seasons Musical Theatre in Langford is putting Oliver! on stage at the Isabelle Reader Theater at Spencer Middle School.  From left to right: The Artful Dodger (Mariah McDonald)

Four Seasons Musical Theatre in Langford is putting Oliver! on stage at the Isabelle Reader Theater at Spencer Middle School. From left to right: The Artful Dodger (Mariah McDonald)

Langford’s Four Seasons Musical Theatre is putting its own twist on a timeless Dickens classic tale with Oliver! the Musical, running May 24 to June 2 at the Isabelle Reader Theatre.

While Four Seasons is known around the West Shore as a musical theatre company for young audiences, the 37-year-old theatre company focused its last few seasons on providing full-length musical theatre for the family, says past-president and Oliver! director Terry Roswell.

“Contrary to popular belief, we are no longer solely producing short shows for a preschool audience,” says Roswell. “This is fabulous family entertainment. I bet people will be walking out of the theatre humming the songs and tapping their feet.”

The company is attracting some top tier talent from across the capital region for both its cast and creative team. Choreography for the cast of 32 is by Lighthouse Academy of Dance faculty member Kathie Hunwick, while Phil Hallman of Victoria Youth Musical Theatre Company (and Con Brio) is in charge of musical direction for the popular musical, based on Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist,” which had successful runs on London’s West End and Broadway.

“We might not have Broadway-style sets and most of the costumes are recycled, or rented, (but) we’re putting on a great show on a small budget,” says Roswell.

And because of the location — a theatre at Spencer school — the rent is cheaper and so are ticket prices.

“There’s this attitude that a $16 show can’t be very good, but we’re not paying to rent the Mac,” says Roswell. “We’re passing that savings on.”

Four Seasons’ production won’t have a full orchestra, but does have an ensemble of six live, professional musicians providing the music.

“I abhor canned music,” says Roswell.

The cast features a small army of children, some as young as five, and the title roll goes to nine-year-old Jordan McDonald, whose older sister Mariah plays Artful Dodger, while their father Rob plays Oliver’s grandfather Mr. Brownlow. Their mother is working on costumes — one of almost 30 volunteers needed to pull off the show.

Roswell’s vision for the production is traditional, playing up the music and the subtleties of the relationships between characters.

“I’m never married to previous productions or the various movies,” says Roswell. “The cast and crew created the vision together. We focus more on the relationships between Oliver and Fagan and the other relationships that often get glossed over.”

For families with young children, Roswell notes that while Nancy is inevitably killed by Bill Sikes, the violence of the murder is toned down with a younger audience in mind.

“We’re not going to avoid how awful the situation is, but what we don’t have to do is make it gratuitous,” says Roswell. “He does stab her, but there’s no blood splatter. It’s not glorified.”

Anyone concerned about the violence level can contact Four Seasons on its website for more information.

“There’s some great stuff happening out here on the West Shore,” says Roswell. “There’s lots of parking, tickets are less expensive and it’s a short drive outside of rush hour.” M

 

Oliver! the Musical

Four Seasons Musical Theatre

Thursday May 23 at 7pm (Preview)

May 24-June 2,  Fridays at 7pm, Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm

Isabelle Reader Theatre (Spencer School) 1026 Goldstream

Tickets cash or cheque at the door, or in advance at  Westside InstaPrint, Ivy’s Bookshop, Jennings Florists, or online at  fourseasonsmusicaltheatre.com

Children $12

Adults $18

Family $54

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

E:Ne Raw Food and Sake Bar is closing its doors until further notice after sexual assault allegations against an employee surfaced on social media. (Google Streetview)
Sexual assault allegations temporarily closing a second Victoria restaurant

Social media posts accuse an E:Ne Raw Food and Sake Bar employee of sexual assault

On Feb. 27, a construction vehicle remained on the site of the former encampment between the Pat Bay Highway and McKenzie Avenue as part a clean-up effort. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Encampment between Pat Bay Highway, McKenzie Avenue cleared, all residents relocated

Efforts to disband encampment resumed after January fire

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled Feb. 26 that the estate of deceased Sooke man and Hells Angels prospect Michael Widner is to be divided between his wife and his secret spouse. (Black Press Media file photo)
Estate of deceased Hells Angels prospect from Sooke to be divided between wife and secret spouse

Michael Widner’s 2017 death left a number of unanswered questions

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich council opts to wait until amalgamation study can take place safely in-person

Victoria council, province must weigh-in on next steps for citizens’ assembly

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

FILE - In this Jan. 18, 2014, file photo, endangered orcas from the J pod swim in Puget Sound west of Seattle, as seen from a federal research vessel that has been tracking the whales. A new study from federal researchers provides the most detailed look yet at what the Pacific Northwest's endangered orcas eat. Scientists with the NOAA Fisheries Northwest Fisheries Science Center spent years collecting fecal samples from the whales as well as scales from the fish they devoured. They say their data reaffirm the central importance of Chinook salmon to the whales. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Study reinforces importance of Chinook to Pacific Northwest orcas

Data confirms how central the big salmon are to the orca’s diet year-round

Shiromali Krishnaraj arrives from India and receives a mandatory COVID-19 test at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. B.C.’s approved rapid tests also use a nasal swab, with a machine to scan for COVID-19 antibodies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s rapid COVID-19 tests have produced only two positive results

Tests deployed for exposures in schools, outbreaks in care homes, jails

BC Emergency Health Services confirmed that a call was received just before 10 a.m. Ground paramedics, as well as an air ambulance, are on the way to the area. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
BREAKING: Helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

The Nanaimo bar display at the Nanaimo Museum. (City of Nanaimo Instagram)
City of Nanaimo points to correct recipe after New York Times botches batch of bars

City addresses ‘controversy’ around dessert square’s layers

A man holds a picture of Chantel Moore during a healing gathering at the B.C. Legislature in Victoria on June 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. First Nation demands transparency in probe into second fatal RCMP shooting

‘Police have killed more Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation members than COVID’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Most Read