Review: Oliver! at Davis Musical Theater Company

Showtimes: Friday 8pm, Sat 8pm, Sun 2pm; Through 3/24; $16-$18; Jean Henderson Performing Arts Center, 607 Pena Drive in Davis; (530) 756-3682;
Rated 4.0

The Davis Musical Theatre Company, celebrating its 34th year, has opened its production of “Oliver!” directed by Jan Isaacson, and it’s a winner.

Co-founder Steve Isaacson is a marvelous Fagin, the criminal who leads a band of child pickpockets. He is mostly kind to the kids he houses, but his hard edge shows when he is coordinating with the likes of the evil Bill Sikes (Jesus J. Madrigal).

Brian McCann and Danette Vassar are delightful as Mr. Bumble, the beadle of the workhouse where Oliver grew up, and Mrs. Corney, its matron. The size difference between the two made for some very funny situations, probably not possible in other productions.

Elliot deJong is outstanding as the Artful Dodger. Moving from the young people’s program to main productions, deJong takes command of the stage and is enjoyable to watch in every scene.

While Gabriel Mark is good as Oliver, with a wonderful voice and good ability to act the part, his one problem is that he needs to control the smile on his face at all times!

Hanna Van Noland gives a strong performance as Nancy, Bill Sikes’ girlfriend, who becomes Oliver’s protector and ultimately his savior, at the cost of her own life. She has a strong, emotional voice that’s perfect for the character.