Funday Times


By Adilah Ismail, Pix by J. Weerasekara & Athula Dewapriya

The auditorium is filled with laughter and the sound of animated voices as we walk in – the enthusiastic cast of 'Olivia' are in the midst of rehearsals for their upcoming production. 'Olivia' a production by Colombo International School tells the story of a downtrodden orphan who goes on to make it as a star on the stage.

The production features a cast of more than 170 children aged 7 – 11 years and the enthusiasm and energy that emanates from the cast and crew during their fun filled rehearsals is positively infectious.

The show, which is steeped with the wit and humour of English writer, musical director and
composer Malcolm Sircom, is coupled with catchy lyrics and toe-tapping music and is set to be a musical for the entire family.

The story is of a female Oliver Twist and is set in Victorian times. As the plot unfolds, the audience is taken along Olivia's journey to the bright lights of London. Olivia is an orphan with no clue to her past and her journey is dotted with colourful (and sometimes very well known) characters who she meets along her way.

From characters such as the beloved Eliza Doolittle (from 'My Fair Lady'), Fagin, the Artful Dodger, George Bernard Shaw, Ebenezer Scrooge to the intuitive Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick, Doctor Watson and the mysterious Annie who has lost her memory – surprises beckon at every corner of Olivia's journey.

Speaking about her character, Sameera Hemdev (10) who steps into Olivia's shoes explains that Olivia is sometimes very lonely. With little or no clue as to where she comes from, Olivia sets off to find
someone to look after her and the plot unfolds thereafter.

"Fagin is an old geezer," says Viren Beruwalage (11) emphatically, elaborating about his character, the well known villain in Oliver Twist. He added that it was such a great opportunity to take part in 'Olivia'.

"I'm Eliza Doolittle," says 10 year old Natasha Mamuhewa explaining that while it's a little hard to master Eliza's trademark cockney accent, "its really awesome playing her".

Akash Ratnasinghe (11) explains that his character (Sherlock Holmes) is called in to assist with Annie's memory loss. "Its good to work with Watson," smiles Akash. "It's extremely apt for their age and very age appropriate," elaborates Director/Producer Yusra Mushtaq adding that the musical was full of humour and filled with song and dance.

Jayanthi Sivapragasam is the choral director for the show, while choreography is by Menik Neydorff, Sarah Hill and Anushka Manamperi. The main characters are Olivia (Sameera Hemdev), Fagin (Viren Beruwalage, Dicken (Akila Perera), Eliza (Natasha Mamuhewa) Annie (Akshtha Mishra), the Artful Dodger (Raveen Kariyawasam) and Sherlock Holmes (Akash Ratnasingham).

'Olivia' (Malcolm Sircom Production UK) will be staged on March 25 and 26, 2010 at the Colombo International School Auditorium from 6.30 p.m., onwards. Tickets are available at the Junior School Office.

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