After meeting Kate and William in Cambridge at lunchtime I decided to have Oliver Twist for dinner. Not as a cannibal, nor child molester (surprise) but a curious visitor of the musical ‘Oliver!‘.
Written by Lionel Bart and based on the novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, the musical follows the adventures of orphan boy Oliver as he escapes from the cruelties of a poorhouse and finds refuge with a gang of pick-pocketing children living under the roof of their substitute guardian but mainly criminal and my favourite character, Fagin.
Fagin, characteristically wearing goatee beard and a huge cloak, showing off his golden watch, is a lonely thief, hoarding stolen goods for his retirement. He teaches kids the art of pick pocketing, which is embedded in the well-loved song ‘You’ve got to pick a pocket or two’.
You probably know the story, which leaves with a happy end as a chance encounter with wealthy Mr Brownlow changes Oliver’s poverty stricken fate.
Set amongst the harsh backdrop of Victorian London, the musical makes for a great British classic. Stage decoration was projecting murky Victorian street life.
Little Oliver was not much older than Dicken’s fictionary character but was already a little smasher on stage.
After twelve years of working as a speech therapist in socially deprived families and neighbourhoods of Cologne/Germany, I had almost forgotten what children are capable of. The ‘orphans’ were excelling on stage, bringing in tables, handing out plates, collecting their gruel to the beat – singing and performing like adult actors with beautiful voices, perfect timing and charming expressions.
The production was fast paced and felt like watching a film. Stage settings changed naturally and the I was impressed by the preciseness of choreography. And some great comic moments of oversized Mr Bumble and Fagin, of course.
I loved all catchy songs, such as ‘Glorious food’, ‘Where is Love’ or ‘Consider yourself’ accompanied by a fine orchestra and left with my head buzzing with melodies for the next days.
FAQs: Oliver! was presented by the Cambridge Operatic Society in association with The Young Actors Company at Cambridge Arts Theatre from Tue 27 Nov to Sat 1 December. I paid £17.50 for my ticket.
At exactly this counter I has bought my ticket and asked at what time the performance would finish. To life’s little mishaps.
Row A seat 1. Perfect.
Great view on orchestra and stage.
Safety measures of all kind. I am in England.
If you have a chance to see Oliver! – do!
If you don’t have the money to see Oliver! – pick a pocket or two!