Members of the Manx Operatic Society are in rehearsals for their upcoming production of ‘Oliver’. Island Life spoke to Rebecca Ankers, a member of the executive committee of the Manx Operatic Society and asked her to tell us all about their new show.

We started off by asking her who will be playing the principal roles.

She said: ‘We have a really strong principal cast. Firstly, our two Olivers are played by Morgan Smith and Parker Kissack. Each bring their own unique style to the role of Oliver, whilst maintaining the same level of charm and class that audiences are used to seeing from Oliver in the film.

‘Victoria McLaughlan plays the role of Nancy with such heart she will bring a tear to your eye.

‘Fagin is played by Mark Dougherty, and Bill Sikes is played by Jonathon Sleight. Both are fantastic character actors and bring so much to their roles. Bill will have everyone quaking in their seats!

‘We have two Artful Dodgers - William Cowley and Thomas McAleer - cheeky chappies, on stage and off. And let’s not forget Bullseye the dog, played by Casper.’

Rebecca goes on to explain that the Society choose ‘Oliver’ as this year’s production for a number of reasons.

She said: ‘As it is the 75th anniversary of the Manx Operatic Society we wanted to do a show that is a large scale, energetic show, to celebrate. We are also thrilled that we have a lot of new members joining the society for this show, including the many children, who we very much hope will become the future of our society.’

‘Oliver’ is such a well-known and well-loved story, both the original book by Charles Dickens and the film version and we asked Rebecca how they have managed to find something new to say in their production.

She said: ‘Our interpretation of the show tells the story of Oliver through lively scenes, large scale dance routines, comedic dialogue and characterful acting - there’s something for everyone. We are staging the show in some interesting ways, including a video wall which will help the audience to really feel as if they are part of the action in Dickensian London. This will set our production aside from others people may have seen in the past.’

And, as she pointed out, there are so many wonderful songs to enjoy: ‘They are all great aren’t they? From the energetic “Consider Yourself” to the soul wrenching “As Long as He Needs Me”, or the rousing “Oom Pah Pah”, all of the classics are in there. The audience will have a tear in their eye when listening to our talented Olivers singing “Where is Love,” a really touching moment in the show.’

And finally, Rebecca reports that rehearsals are going well. She said: ‘We began rehearsing back in September and they are going really well so far. Our children’s teams have been putting in a huge effort to learn the many challenging scenes they are in and are doing themselves, and us, proud. And the adult cast have been working equally hard. The whole show has now been set and the final tweaks are being made to perfect it.

‘All of the hard work is paying off, with the latest full-run we did resulting in the director, Jeremy Tustin, simply saying, “Oh, it’s going to be so good - I can just feel it.”’

Dates: ‘Oliver’ is on at the Gaiety Theatre from March 16 - 23. Tickets available from