THE audience at a lavish school production of "Oliver!" were certainly left asking for more.

The John Masefield High School show last week revealed just why the Ledbury school is an arts college, with a spectacle that involved over 100 students from all age groups.

There was a little army of small pickpockets and urchins, who not only filled up the stage with their all-singing and dancing enthusiasm, but also marched into the auditorium at times, for a show that was well choreographed and well-rehearsed.

In three shows, including a Saturday matinee which was followed very quickly by an evening production, none of the cast allowed their energy to flag; and they were rewarded with wild cheers and loud applause from every audience.

Special praise was heard for Ben Mowbray, aged 16, who played Fagin to perfection, in a way that would not shame a professional West End stage.

Beth Hiley was an engaging Nancy, with a clear and soaring voice, especially during the moving aria, "As long as he needs me".

And Louis Hughes was a suitably animated and menacing Bill Sykes.

The youthful orchestra tackled a complicated and challenging score with real gusto, and the sets, and the set changes, were also a credit to a school which clearly takes the performing arts very seriously and knows how to put on a splendid show.