THE Cameron Mackintosh production of Oliver! has arrived at the Bristol Hippodrome and delivers in so many areas that the audience seemed reluctant to leave and left this theatre-goer asking” please sir, I want some more.”
Neil Morrisey as Fagin gives a performance that oozes both cowardice and mischief and he even manages to get in a Bob the Builder reference.
But most eyes will be upon this production’s Nancy (Samantha Barks). With her performance as Eponine in the film version of Les Miserables, Samantha is a rising star of the moment. Her stage presence is undeniable and her voice is magnificent. Bill Sykes, played by Iain Fletcher commands the stage with considerable menace.
It is the child actors, led by Sebastian Croft as Oliver and Daniel Huttlestone (who plays Gavroche in the movie Les Miserables) as the Artful Dodger who give the show so much energy sweeping the entire cast and audience along for the ride.
This big budget production is full of Lionel Bart’s superb songs that so effortlessly tell the story. The musical has played to packed audiences for more than 50 years for a reason – it contains so many classic songs. From the foot stomping ‘Consider Yourself’, ‘Oliver’ and ‘Food, Glorious food’ and ‘Oom-Pah-Pah’, to the emotional ‘Where is Love?’ and ‘As Long as he needs me’.
Directed by Laurence Connor, the show pulls out all the stops and delivers a West-End experience with a strong cast and fantastic set (Totie Driver and Adrian Vaux) and costume designs (Anthony Ward) that really evoke Dickensian England.
This was a great start to the year and a must-see for any lover of good all round entertainment.
• Oliver! is at the Bristol Hippodrome until February 24.
• For tickets contact 0844 871 3012 or go to www.atgtickets.com/bristol.