Enniskillen Light Operatic (ELO) concluded a deservedly sold-out run of Oliver! at the Ardhowen on Saturday night to a standing ovation.

The audience was thrilled by the soaring music, top quality performances and spectacular crowd scenes that had been beautifully directed with military precision.

We have come to expect a lot from ELO with amazing performances over the years and again, in spite of the weight of expectation, the company did not fail to deliver.

The children taking part were fantastic. The opening scene in the workhouse with "Food Glorious Food" displayed their talents and commitment in abundance. Throughout, the young actors, from the workhouse children to Fagin's gang, were truly delightful.

And of course, there was Oliver, played by Thomas Corrigan. He beautifully captured the innocence of the character.

While Oliver! is an entertaining romp, its dark themes of child exploitation and cruelty are never far away. As the young orphaned boy, Thomas Corrigan perfectly depicted his inherent goodness as a foil to the less savoury characters and events unfolding around him.

One of those less innocent characters was the Artful Dodger, played by Conor Hughes who was spot on as the cheeky chappie with impressive sleight of hand.

Paul Doherty's Fagin was really a stand-out performance. It would be easy to fall into a caricature of this well-known character, but he did not. He never put a foot wrong combining great acting and a strong vocal performance.

Nancy (Brenda Swift) too was superb. Her rendition of "As Long as He Needs Me" being particularly memorable.

The scene in the undertaker's parlour was atmospheric, edgy and macabre. Memorable performances came from Catherine Meehan as Mrs Sowerbury and Rory McCarney as Mr Sowerbury who were wonderfully spooky as was the vicious Noel Claypole (John O'Boyle).

A favourite scene was the market sellers singing "Who will buy". Singers Clare McEvoy, Chloe Smith and Rose Saunders were mesmerising.

The multi-tasking set was wonderful as it transformed from the workhouse to Fagin's kitchen to the Brownlows' morning room in a matter of moments.

The pace created during performances was matched by the speed of the stage hands as they moved the set in double quick time. Fagin's kitchen particularly looked good as did the depiction of London Bridge.

Music, under the sure direction of Grainne Hanratty, was excellent. The chorus, directed by Irene Kernoghan, gave an extremely strong and assured performance.

Director Garvan Gallagher has done an amazing job, harnessing the talents of scores of young and mature actors and bringing out the best in them.

The aforementioned pace of the performance is testament to months of hard work honing each move. And his hand in the big scenes with huge numbers on stage was evident -- not one actor or singer was out of place, every one was committed to and focused on his or her performance. A huge achievement.