Oliver! at Theatre Royal Drury Lane

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Omid Djalili as Fagin in Oliver! Photo: Seamus Ryan

Oliver! Oliver! Never before has a boy wanted more…

I’ve had this song stuck in my head since seeing the Theatre Royal production of Oliver! last week. Directed by Rupert Goold and choreographed by Matthew Bourne this musical production of Dickens’ classic novel is an all-singing, all-dancing spectacular.

I considered myself at home as the familiar tunes were performed in front of amazing sets in Covent Garden‘s beautiful old Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Whoever said you shouldn’t work with kids or animals should “eat their head”, as the kids were the stars of the show – first appearing as orphans, then as Fagin’s urchins and other London street strays. And Bullseye – Bill Sikes’ dog, played by a real live dog – was a big hit with the audience.

Oom Pah Pah, Oom Pah Pah, that’s not to say the adults didn’t belt out a few good ‘uns (literally, in the case of Sykes, ahem). Omid Djalili as Fagin was fickle, funny and just the right side of fiendish. And Nancy sang up a storm.

Proving you’ve gotta pick a pocket or two – I particularly liked the Act 1 scene where Oliver is sold to work in a Funeral Parlour and the undertaker and his wife were styled to look like Riffraff and Magenta – bit of a timewarp, but it worked.

This is a great production that’s suitable for young and old. I’m sure you’d do anything to see it for yourself and, luckily, all you have to do is buy a wonderful theatre ticket.