Review: Fantastic school show leaves you wanting more

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More than 50 stage-struck Year Six pupils at Hempshill Hall Primary School gave a dazzling show of their talents with a rip-roaring production of the classic musical Oliver!, writes Peter Jordan.

The talented cast dedicated its final performance (one of four enjoyed by pupils, staff and parents) to popular headteacher Helen Ridge, who is retiring, and much like the school’s recent OFSTED accreditation which was rated as “ outstanding”, this all-singing, all-dancing production, directed by the school’s business manager Rosemary Lishman, was equally outstanding too.

Hempshill Hall’s heart-warming interpretation of the wonderful Dickens story owed much to the principal players, with rising stars Ellis Ricci in the title role, Tyler Jarvis as the Artful Dodger and the brilliant Callum Wright as the loveable rogue Fagin, while the talented Aimee Glendenning was a revelation as the ill-fated Nancy.

Javard Brown as the belligerent bully Bill Sikes, Shlok Shah who played Mr.Bumble, and Hildegard Wild as Bet provided the perfect foil in supporting roles.

Brilliant renditions of the show’s big numbers and in particular Nancy’s heartfelt As Long As He Needs Me, Oliver’s Where is Love and Fagin’s brilliant I Am Reviewing the Situation, were highlights of a brilliant production.

A fantastic chorus of singers and dancers, a brilliant show of talent by performers playing the parts of Fagin’s gang of rough and ready sneak thieves, eye-catching flower sellers, milk maids and knife grinders all contributed to the show’s success.

Musical director Hannah Lishman, scenery painter Sharon Limb, costume providers Betty Lishman and Jane Clarke and Nottingham’s Community Wardrobe and props provider Josh King all made invaluable contributions.

The final performance of a fun-packed show was the most meaningful of them all as the cast dedicated this to their “wonderful” headteacher Helen Ridge who has supported and inspired both pupils and staff during a long and successful career at the school.

As a tribute to Helen the cast changed the words to one of the show’s big numbers and sang “We’d do anything for you Mrs.Ridge, anything” before each and every one of them presented her with a single rose to crown a glorious and memorable chapter in her life.

Moved and absolutely delighted by the “big surprise”, Mrs Ridge paid tribute to everyone involved with the production. “What a way to remember this wonderful group of young people. The show was terrific and I am so touched and proud to have played a part in their lives. I wish them well in the future and I’m sure they will never forget the great days at Hempshill Hall Primary”.

Pictured are Helen Ridge (centre) with Rosemary and Hannah Lishman (back right) and the cast of Oliver. (Photo by Peter Jordan)