When I went: 2 October 2010
Location: Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London
Performers: Russ Abbot (Fagin), Gwion Wyn Jones (Oliver), Kerry Ellis (Nancy)
Creative team: Lionel Bart (music and lyrics), Charles Dickens (novel), Cameron Mackintosh (producer), Rupert Gould and Matthew Bourne (co-directors)
Approximate price: £45
Special points: Grimy humour, classic basis
Best bit: Reviewing the Situation
If I could change one thing: No technical difficulties
Oliver! is based on a classic Charles Dickens novel which, like so many of his other books, has a timeless quality. Lionel Bart’s songs fit the bill perfectly, especially the ensemble number I’d Do Anything, which is full of hope and youthful enthusiasm.
Oliver! is a solid choice if you want to see a classic musical.
Russ Abbot’s bumbling Reviewing the Situation was the highlight, and deservedly got the best response from the audience. Unfortunately, there were some technical issues with That’s Your Funeral so that we could barely hear the singers, and we missed seeing Jodie Prenger, who won the role of Nancy after competing on the BBC programme I’d Do Anything, but did see Gwion Wyn Jones, who appeared on the same programme, as Oliver. He carried off the role well, but didn’t shine as much as Kerry Ellis, who was wonderfully endearing as Nancy, or Russ Abbot as Fagin.
This performance lacked some of the energy and innovation of some of the other shows on today, but was still enjoyable and in places, heartwarming.