Oliver!

Lionel Bart’s Oliver! does not, in my opinion, get all the credit it deserves. Although it was written fifty years ago, it still seems fresh and exciting and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t still be performed in another fifty years, which is not necessarily the case for many of the famous musicals of recent years. The story is heart-warming, there’s a vicious criminal who finally gets his just desserts and it’s full of memorable songs. What more could anybody want?The strength of this production is in the younger members of the cast, Fagin’s gang, who also double as the workhouse orphans. This is clear from the very first song, Food, Glorious Food, which is sung with great emphasis but extremely clearly and precisely, and is superbly choreographed. Although the actors playing Fagin’s gang are very young, they are clearly all experienced actors, singers or musicians.The quality of singing is very high throughout, but perhaps the best are those which involve most or all of the cast, particularly Consider Yourself and I’d Do Anything. Again, these are well choreographed making them a pleasure to watch as well as to hear.By Fringe standards this is a long show, at one hour fifty minutes, but even so cuts have had to be made to get it down to that time. This makes the second act seem a little rushed, particularly the ending. This is unfortunate but probably unavoidable. There were some minor teething problems in the first performance. One or two of the cast had microphone difficulties and others seemed to have trouble keeping their footing. However, they did not let this disturb their performances and I’m sure these problems will not return in subsequent shows.This is an excellent production, and should be enjoyed by everyone.

Reviews by Alan Chorley

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★★★★

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★★

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★★★★

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★★★★

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★★★★

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Performances

The Blurb

JustJohn return to the Fringe with a bold, big-hearted performance of Lionel Bart's marvellous score. Each of Dickens's loveable rogues touches the audience in this much-loved story of a malnourished urchin foolish enough to ask for ... more!

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