REVIEW – Oliver, Newcastle Theatre Royal

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THE first and most important thing to be said about this staging of Lionel Bart’s classic production is that it is tremendously good fun and if you get the chance to see it, you should.

So outstanding was the 1968 film musical, that every staging since has been in danger of suffering in comparison.

But live performances have their own magic and here you can enjoy an evening of colour, spectacle, superb dancing and some wonderful individual performances.

There is so much to enjoy in producer Cameron Mackintosh’s vivid music and dance spectacular.

It’s easy to forget how many famous songs there are in Bart’s interpretation of Charles Dickens’ story from Food, Glorious Food to Reviewing the Situation.

But quality is stamped all the way through this production from the complex, clever and effective stage settings to the set-piece dance routines which reach their peak in Consider Yourself.

I feared that the insufferably- smug Brian Conley might over-ham the key role of Fagin, but 
he did not. Ian Fletcher was a suitably malovelent Bill Sikes, 
Cat Simmons a boisterous Nancy who produced a great rendition 
of As Long As He Needs Me and Sebastian Croft, in the title 
role, has a wonderful singing 
voice.

Jack Edwards and Claire Machin offered a comically-raucous Mr Bumble and Widow Corney, but the star of the show is the show itself and the production quality.

Oliver! has an eight-week run and is priced so reasonably you won’t even need to pick a pocket, or two.

Graeme Anderson