The Cincinnati Shakespeare Company proudly opened there 20th Season with a Charles Dickens’s classic tale Oliver Twist on September 6, 2013, and it continues until September 29, 2013. This production features Ethan Verderber as Oliver in his CSC debut. He is known to Cincinnati audiences in his recent role as “Boy Scrooge” in the Cincinnati Playhouse in Park’s production of The Christmas Carol. Oliver Twist will also feature CSC resident ensemble members of Jeremy Dubin, Sara Clark and Jim Hopkins. The production is under the direction of Michael Evan Haney who had previously directed the “Hound of the Baskervilles in July 2012 and June 2013. He has also directed “The Christmas Carol at the Cincinnati Playhouse in Park for the last 20 years.
The story is that of an orphan Oliver Twist who endures a miserable existence in workhouse, abused and not feed well. He is later sent live with an undertaker and his wife however his mistreatment continues. He escapes this residence and on his way to London, when he encounters a pickpocket called Artful Dodger who offers to help the young Oliver who is innocent and unaware of the dishonest nature of Dodger. Dodger offers to introduce him to Fagin a so called gentleman who helps orphans needing a place to stay. However, Fagin in reality is an criminal leader of a gang of pickpockets and seeks the all mighty dollar over everything. Fagin also has a criminal cohort who handles the dirty work of the business named Mr. Bill Sikes.
The stage design captures the imagination and makes you feel as to are in that time period of the 1830’s England. There was major issues with child labor and child abuse. All the performers in the Cincinnati Shakespeare’s production of Oliver Twist are talented and have made this production very believable, realistic, and entertaining.
Jeremy Dubin was superb in his portrayal of elderly Fagin. He brought out the human weakness of the criminal mindset the belief of being invincible, untouchable, and pursuit of easy money, living on the misfortunes of others. He took him from his high moments to his low points, and his eventual fall.
Sara Clark was skillful as Artful Dodger. She brought to the character traits of cockiness, pride and also some remorse over getting Oliver involved with the business.
Jim Hopkins played the role of Bill Sikes brilliantly the ruthlessness, selfishness, and violent nature and man not to be crossed could have not been done better.
Kelly Mengelkoch development the role of Nancy is amazing. Nancy is Bill’s love interest. She was the anti-hero a woman to who had made some bad life choices in her life but want to make up for it. She didn’t want anything in return. Nancy seeks protect the young Oliver from both Bill and Fagin.
Ethan Verderber was great as Oliver. He brought out the innocence and determination of the character.
Tickets the performances of Oliver Twist will range in price of $22-$31 on Thursdays and Sundays, and Friday and Saturdays cost is $26 to $35. More information is available at www.cincyshakes.com or by calling the CSC Box Office at #513-381-2273.
This production is of high quality, and is just one reason to visit the CSC for great professional theatre for entertainment that is fun, lively, and of value.