I spent last evening at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield for the Public Dress Rehearsal of Daniel Evans' new production of 'Oliver'.
Lionel Bart's musical adaptation of Dickens' tale of the underside of Victorian London is a perennial favourite, despite its sometimes difficult subject matter (corruption, domestic abuse & murder feature highly), and it's good to see it revived as the Christmas Show this year.
This was a good, energetic performance with an enthusiastic cast. The singing and choreography were very good (apart from some singers being a touch flat at times) and there were some great comic moments too - almost a touch of pantomime in places, which is perhaps only right for a Christmas production.
It's the songs that make the show, and Evans has included even the lesser-known ones ('I Shall Scream' and 'That's Your Funeral') in this production. The Show-stoppers - 'Food, Glorious Food', 'Oom-Pah-Pah' (the only patch of light, really, in the second act), 'Consider Yourself' and 'You've Got to Pick a Pocket or Two' were portrayed with the joy and exuberance you would expect, and the more reflective 'I'm Reviewing the Situation', 'Where is Love?' and the hauntingly beautiful and sadly poignant 'As Long as He Needs Me' brought the necessary seriousness to proceedings.
The cast, both young and older, worked well together and engaged the audience very well. For a dress rehearsal, this was an excellent performance. If you can get a ticket for this show (which runs now until 25th January) do so: you'll be in for a great time!