Miriam Hubbard as Nancy finds herself opposite her real-life nephew Luca Gisbey as Oliver as Littlehampton’s Stage-Door Theatre Company take to the stage with the Lionel Bart classic.
Oliver! will be at the Windmill Theatre, Littlehampton from Wednesday, November 28- Saturday, December 1, evenings 7.30pm, plus Saturday matinee at 2.30pm (tickets on 01903 856801 or firstname.lastname@example.org).It will be Miriam’s first big production for ten years or more.
“It is my first show with the company. I used to be part of a local children’s theatre company, and I had a friend who was part of Stage-Door and somebody I knew said that they were going to do Oliver! I said I would love to do that and I went along with my nephew and my niece, and everyone was so welcoming. My nephew got the part of Oliver, and I got the part of Nancy!”
Nancy is proving a fascinating character to play: “I really admire how strong-willed and determined she is, but there is also an element of fun. She has got a lot of gumption. I admire that, and I like to think I am reflecting that in the character. She is who she is all the way through, and she is unapologetic about that.
“She is determined. She knows what is right and wrong even though she lives a life embroiled in crime. She knows who she is and she goes with her gut. I think she does love Bill, and right until the end, even when she is helping Oliver, she never gives up Bill. She is fighting her conscience.
“It is a wonderful musical. It has got a really good family feel to it. There are so many children in it. I am not sure of the age of the youngest, but there is a big age range throughout the whole cast. Even though the show is full of things that should be awful, like child exploitation and domestic abuse, there are just these relationships throughout the play that are so real and show such humanity. Nancy’s main solo is As Long As He Needs Me.
"It’s a bit of a rollercoaster. Just before she sings it, she has just been hit by Bill, the man she loves. The song is a real journey of her at first trying to convince herself and the audience that he does love her, and by the end you see the determination that she believes he does need her.”
Does Bill love her? “I think he loves the control he has over her. That’s separate, but I think he also loves that she will stand up to him when no one else will. He is the villain of the whole piece. Everybody is scared of him, but Nancy is the only person that really speaks truthfully and honestly to him without fear of what he will do to her. I don’t think he would be around her if he didn’t love her…
“This is my first show for a long time. I did everything at college, singing, acting and dancing, and then after that I continued singing with my local church. I have done things like that, but I haven’t done anything as big as this in the theatre for ten years, maybe 12 years.
“I am absolutely loving it. At first I was a bit nervous about how it would be to get back into it, but it just feels great. It feels really natural.”