Welcome to Dickens week. The Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bear Players will present “A Christmas Carol,” Thursday, Friday and Saturday. “Dickens on the Strand” will be hosted this upcoming weekend in Galveston. Lucky for us, due to the Galveston Opera House still being repaired after Hurricane Ike, Oliver! played an extra night in Orange this past weekend.

Saturday and Sunday, the musical version of Dickens’ tale “Oliver Twist” took the stage at the Lutcher Theater. It was fitting the show opened with “Food, Glorious Food,” since the audience was probably still under the influence of all the Tryptophan ingested during Thanksgiving, plus trying to work off the extra calories. Oliver never had that problem most of his life.

Born an orphan, Oliver played by Quentin Araujo, lived a life of hardship, poverty and hunger. Sold as a child laborer, he ran away, joining a band of young thieves led by the Artful Dodger played by Colin Nims and Fagin played by Zachary Mordechai. Finally he was taken in by a kindly gentleman that turns out to be his grandfather.

The actor that played the Artful Dodger tended to overdo his London accent where you couldn’t always understand what he was saying. There were a couple of times other characters are not understandable, but not many, if you watch BBCAmerica a lot. Those that don’t watch British broadcasts might have a little more difficulty.

It was well sung, well danced and Fagin was a hoot.

Christopher David Lukos, as Bill Sykes, was ominous in stature as the villain that no one in their right mind would dare cross. 

Widow Corney, played by Stacie Johnson and Mr. Bumble, played by Chazmond Peacock, were quite entertaining in their love/hate scenes.

Most of the actors played multiple characters.

Changing the sets was a little different. In most shows they lower the lights or close the curtains. In OLIVER!, the actors changed the sets as the scenes continued. They did use a little misdirection occasionally as Nancy, played by Rhiannon West, might start singing on one side of the stage under a spotlight as the cast changed things on one side of the stage, then she would walk, nonchalantly to the other side, so the rest of the set could be changed.

I heard one young theater goer ask their parent, “What’s that for?” as the laundry was hung to signify Fagin’s place of residence. Laundry strung between houses is not something young locals are accustomed to seeing.

The Lutcher did a fair job of filling the theater Saturday, considering they only had about a week to promote the extra date. The orchestra was about three fourths full. Reduced ticket prices made the Saturday show a bargain.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, a comedy, will be the next offering at the Lutcher in December.

Don’t forget to check out more Dickens in “A Christmas Carol” at Little Cypress-Mauriceville this weekend on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.