Atlanta Lyric botches classic musical ‘Oliver!’

Is there one thing further antithetical to the very thought of “live” musical theater than a canned instrumental observe? To what diploma does the uncertain observe of using prerecorded music primarily lower the theatrical artwork sort to a stage of glorified karaoke?

Ordinarily, it’s presupposed to be the members of a band or orchestra who accompany the singers, in its place of the other method spherical — the place the performers on stage are primarily hamstrung, not lots tapping or expressing the actual humor or emotion of their songs as primarily merely defending in step with the mounted beats and rhythms of a programmed soundtrack.

Imagine, when you’ll (or must you even can), prerecording the complete vocals in a gift, after which merely letting the actors lip-sync to them. Ridiculous, correct? But what’s the excellence, truly, when you shudder to think about it?

And so it is that Atlanta Lyric Theatre’s manufacturing of “Oliver!,” writer-composer-lyricist Lionel Bart’s frequent 1960s musical adaptation of the classic Charles Dickens novel “Oliver Twist,” employs keep vocalists accompanying orchestrations that aren’t — merely the first and most blatant sign of points to return again, in the case of the general dearth of freshness or spontaneity dashing all by way of director Heidi Cline McKerley’s current.

For anyone unfamiliar with the distinctive Dickens story, the titular youthful orphan (portrayed properly right here by Vinny Montague) escapes his dire existence in an oppressive workhouse for the indicate streets and darkish alleys of London. After falling in with a ragged gang of urchin pickpockets, he finally lives fortuitously ever after alongside along with his wealthy grandfather.

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For those who haven’t seen the Oscar-winning movie based totally on Bart’s rendition of it, the score choices such tunes as “Food, Glorious Food,” “Where Is Love?,” “Consider Yourself,” “I’d Do Anything,” “Be Back Soon,” “As Long as He Needs Me,” “Who Will Buy?” and “Reviewing the Situation.”

Cristina Dinella serves as music director of the Lyric staging. The marginal choreography is by Bubba Carr. The current’s manufacturing values are reasonably unremarkable on the complete, along with the drab scenic design of Jennifer Rose Ivey and Ben Rawson’s bland lighting. At least the Victorian interval costumes by Nicole Clockel are good.

Less stunning is the director’s nepotistic casting of her husband, Jeff McKerley, throughout the plum part of Fagin, who leads the den of thieves that threatens to deprive poor Oliver. The actor isn’t primarily too youthful for the perform, nevertheless, he does come off as a bit youngish – – further lovable than licentious, like a ponytailed dandy when the character has to be slovenly and shadier.

Elsewhere, native stalwarts Brian Kurlander and Jennifer Alice Acker appear due to the menacing Bill Sykes and his ill-fated girlfriend, Nancy. But it’s Atlanta newcomer Colby Howell who stands out as a result of the Artful Dodger, Fagin’s sidekick, delivering a singularly invigorating effectivity in a gift that’s in some other case about as inanimate as, successfully, canned music observe.



Through June 23. 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays; 2 p.m. Saturday (June 22). $33-$63. Jennie T. Anderson Theatre (on the Cobb Civic Center), 548 S. Marietta Parkway, Marietta. 404-377-9948.

Bottom line: A stodgy, labored disappointment.

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