PSI’s summer production for 2017 is Oliver! by Lionel Bart. The original Dicken’s novel is a dark tale of those forced to live in the margins of life, trying to navigate their own morality while struggling for survival in harsh times. At PSI we wanted to make real world connections and so set the musical in modern day Kyiv. There are strong parallels with Dickensian London - like most modern cities, there are many homeless people suffering on the streets and teams of pickpockets living rough and surviving as best they can.
We are including a smattering of Ukrainian language throughout and also managing to weave some Ukrainian folk music throughout the play. Costumes and characters have been drawn from the streets of Kyiv and many iconic characters are seen on stage. As part of the preparation for the productions, student actors connected with the homeless community through volunteer projects and all the money raised from the show went towards aid for the support organisations that care for these marginalised people.
The result is a startlingly moving theatrical experience where audience and performers alike will come away from the production with a deeper empathy and understanding for those living in the underbelly of life.
By James Spencer & Simon Ferry