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Male leads in ‘Oliver’ at Merlin Summer School

This year’s Summer school is the all time favourite ‘Oliver!’ 

This year’s production features 40 young people in the cast, plus more taking on production duties such as lighting and sound.

The whole musical is expertly put together in just 10 days with the cast being put through their paces by choreographer Amy Morgan-Bell,  director Claudia Pepler and musical director Jamie Mason. The show features many big ensemble numbers including ‘Consider Yourself’, ‘Oom Pah Pah’, ‘As Long as He Needs Me’ and ‘Food Glorious Food’.

This year the production needed strong males and Claudia is delighted with the five young men  that have successfully auditioned. Claudia said. “We really have the cream of the crop in terms of young male leads. Newcomer Hugo Fisher will melt everyone’s hearts when he sings his big solo ‘Where is Love’ – I can guarantee there will not be a dry eye in the house.”

The cast also boasts Ben Hardy Phillips as The dark villain Bill Sykes. Ben is currently rehearsing with Frome Musical Theatre Company as Joe Casey in ‘Our House’, and has recently played Danny in Frome College’s production of ‘Grease’, Pirelli in ‘Sweeney Todd’ and ‘The Cat in the Hat’ in a production in Bristol. Ben has a place at Rose Bruford  to study American Theatre Arts.

Very different from last year’s tap dancing Don in ‘Singin’ in the Rain’, Ellis Dackombe will be playing the part of Mr Bumble, a part he has wanted to play since a child. He previously played Oliver in Frome Musical Theatre company’s version when he was younger. Ellis played Anthony in ‘Sweeney Todd’ and is currently raising money towards his course at Arts Educational.

Dillon Berry had plenty of practice for his role as The Artful Dodger when he played Tobias last year in ‘Sweeney Todd’, another young cockney street urchin . Dillon also played the part of Kurt in ‘The Sound of Music’ and recently Danny Gilmartin in Selwood School’s production of ‘Calamity Jane’.

Finally, Ryan Hughes will delight as the delicious Fagin. Ryan is busy directing ‘A Chorus Line’ for the Merlin Theatre Company, but has taken time out to play this iconic role.  Recently Ryan stole the show as Seymour in Oddity’s version of ‘Little shop of Horrors’ and the bumbling Barnaby in the recent FMTC production of ‘Hello Dolly’.

There will be no rest for Ryan as he begins rehearsals in September for the Merlin’s production of ‘A Christmas Carol’ where he will be playing Bob Cratchett.

Tickets for ‘Oliver!’ cost £9 and £7.50 and can be bought on line merlinthe or by calling the box office 01373 465949. The show is on 21st, 22nd and 23rd August, 7.00pm at the Merlin Theatre.