If anyone wonders why an amateur theatre company should be performing in this celebrated theatre, the answer was clear on Tuesday night.

From the opening number, Food, Glorious Food, to the denouement with the deaths of Nancy and Bill Sykes, this was a production to delight the audience which packed the theatre to the seams.

It stirred the emotions with its collection of instantly recognisable songs and surface story of a lonely orphan who falls in and out of good fortune in the world.

But the serious themes of poverty, prostitution, crime, loneliness and unlikely love were not lost amid the gusto which sweeps the show along.

SWMTC's collection of outstanding performers managed to extract all the nuances provided by Dickens' original description of Victorian squalor.

This was in no-way presented as a pseudo sing-along with cartoon characters - unlike some other versions I have witnessed in the past.

The characterisations of Fagin by Matthew Filmore, Nancy by Adele Contreras and Bill Sykes by Billy Reynolds were astonishing.

The run of songs during the first scene in Fagin's den, starting with Pick A Pocket Or Two, was wonderful. 
But Matthew Filmore's finest moments came with his performance of Reviewing The Situation and its reprise, with the required subtle mood change between the two.

Adele Contreras managed to bring alive all the facets of a woman caught in the downward spiral of a self-destructive relationship - happy-go-lucky while singing It's A Fine Life and Oom-Pah-Pah and melancholy when performing As Long As He Needs Me. Her voice is as terrific as her acting.

Billy Reynolds was suitably terrifying and had the young girl sitting next to me hiding behind her programme during his performance of My Name in his opening scene. 

His murder of Nancy was no-holds-barred, having the audience shrinking into their seats.
Oliver! always offers the chance for young stars in the making to show off their skills.

Thomas Smith in the title role and Charlie Mulford as the Artful Dodger, both in their first show with SWMTC, were marvellous and never looked over-awed by performing on such a large stage.
The chorus of youngsters were exceptionally well drilled, with their movement around the stage looking natural and the dance numbers well choreographed.

Finally a word for the one larger than life character who everyone loves despite his nastiness - William Branston was excellent as Mr Bumble, possessing a powerful singing voice an a great manner for dark humour.

This was not an amateur show, it was an extraordinarily professional show presented by amateurs.
Oliver! runs at Theatre Royal Windsor, in Thames Street, until tomorrow (Saturday) with evening performances at 7.30pm and a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm.

Coming soon: The Gruffalo Live On Stage! from Tuesday until Saturday November 7. Performance times: Tuesday 1.30pm, Wednesday to Friday 10.30am and 1.30pm, Saturday 10.30am.
Tim Cole