Guard your pockets and purses at Isabelle Reader Theatre.
A Charles Dickens classic comes to life in Langford with Four Season’s Musical Theatre’s Oliver!
“We’ve made a conscious decision to depart from the darkness of this story that occurs in many of the movies,” said director Terry Rowsell. “We are focussing more on Oliver and his journey to find his grandfather.”
Jordan MacDonald, 9, plays Oliver Twist.
“It’s a lot of work and it takes a lot of practice to learn the lines,” said Jordan. This is the second play he’s ever been in and the first time he’s played a lead role.
“He puts in the work of an older kid,” said Rowsell. “Often directors would get a young looking older kid to play the part or a girl to play a young boy. I felt to really get the sympathy of the audience I wanted to get a younger Oliver and Jordan has been amazing.”
Aside from his talent on the stage, Rowsell said Jordan fits the part because, “He happens to be skinny and looks like he has been starved, but he’s healthy and comes from a happy family.”
Jordan is joined on stage by his older sister Mariah McDonald, 11, as head pickpocket, Artful Dodger.
Her character takes Oliver under his wing, which isn’t hard for her to play because she’s used to protecting her brother.
“The hardest part is being a boy (on stage). I have to practise standing and walking like a boy. Girls stand with their feet together and boys stand with their feet apart and they slouch,” Mariah said.
Jordan and Mariah are home schooled and practise many of the scenes together during the day.
“Oliver! … tells a real story about how things used to be and kids in workhouses,” she said.
This is the sixth play Mariah has been in.
“Mariah is fabulous. She is super talented and can dance, sing and act,” Rowsell said
The children’s father Rob McDonald makes his acting debut as Mr. Brownlow, Oliver’s grandfather.
Some of the darker parts of the story still need to be told, Rowsell said, adding he has spoken to some parents who are concerned with the violence of the story.
“Bill Sikes does kill Nancy, you can’t get around that. We are not overplaying that, it happens and we move on,” said Rowsell.
Shows are at Isabelle Reader Theatre, 1026 Goldstream Ave. Evening shows begin at 7 p.m. on May 25 and May 31. Matinees begin at 2 p.m. on May 25 and 26 and June 1 and 2.
For more information go to www.fourseasonsmusicaltheatre.com