Review – Oliver!, Drury Lane

Wednesday 24 December 2008

oliverPossibly their last show of 2008 so the Whingers play it safe: a known, loved, trusted musical with hummable tunes; in the West End; with reserved seating.

Yes, last Monday* the Whingers eagerly took their numbered seats at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane to enjoy their favourite British musical. This show has more catchy, hummable songs than any other this sceptred isle has ever produced.

What sensible person would not grin from ear to ear on hearing the jolly refrain:

If you don’t mind having to deal with Fagin, It’s a fine life! It’s a fine life!
Though diseased rats threaten to bring the plague in, It’s a fine life! It’s a fine life!

Andrew Lloyd Webber: eat your heart out. And all your other vital organs while you’re at it. Oliver! is proof that Lionel Bart was the closest thing to musical theatre genius that this country has seen. What could possibly go wrong?

The trouble is this production of Oliver! was famously cast and promoted through yet another TV talent show, I’d Do Anything which threw up three Olivers and a Nancy.

So not only are there an awful lot of kiddie-winks in the show (134 in total, although thankfully not all on the same night) but also in the audience.

And the casting of Jodie Prenger via the telly (which Andrew famously doesn’t do) has attracted – now how do we put this politely and without seeming like the terrible, terrible snobs that we are – the kind of people who don’t normally go to the theatre.

Now, many of you out there will be will thinking that attracting people who don’t normally go to the theatre is a good thing. But you weren’t there last Monday night, were you? As the Whingers took their seats Phil whispered (note to people who don’t normally go to the theatre: note the word “whisper“, not “talk full volume like you would at home”), “I’m going to have to be very brave”.

And so it was, amidst all the people who don’t normally go to the theatre that the Whingers sat trying to be very patient, attempting to block out all the crying, chatting, back-of-seat banging, sweet unwrapping, cross-row Malteser distribution and more coughing than a TB ward.

The trouble is that the people who don’t normally go to the theatre took a rather literal interpretation of Mr Bart’s thoughtless imperative “Consider yourself at home” and behaved as though they’re still at home sitting in front of the telly. After Prenger’s big solo number the woman next to Andrew started texting her friends to tell them all about it.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Andrew adopted his signature look of benign resignation but Phil was hissing “shhhhh” within 30 seconds. But even Phil’s venomous stares could not silence the three year old child who started to cry the moment the band struck up with the scary opening music. And why did the curtain go up before the house lights went down?** If ever there was an audience that required a lesson in good manners and a collective shusshing, this was it. There was, of course, the announcement about turning off mobiles and not taking photographs (clearly copyright being far more important than allowing the audience to enjoy itself in relative peace).

Why was there no instruction to shut the f*** up, take any screaming f***ing brats home  (it’s not a panto) and unwrap your f***ing sweeties now?

Anyway, enough about people who don’t normally go to the theatre.

What of the people who go to the theatre far more often than is normal?

Well, if we must review the show rather than the audience, these would be our observations:

  • When it comes to children singing, less really is more. Obviously “zero children” would be the Whingers’ preference but that’s clearly not practical in this show. But it would be only slightly less practical than having more children than is customary, thus rendering the words of “Food, Glorious, Food” inaudible (although this did not prevent the people who don’t normally go to the theatre from being inspired to gorge themselves anew on the noisiest confectionery known to man.
  • The sound balance is completely off. We could hardly make out any of the lyrics. This is important – it’s a musical – and must be rectified.
  • There’s something already rather tired about this production – perhaps because it’s a revival of the 1994 Sam Mendes revival. Genius wunderkind turned loose cannon Rupert Goold has been brought into co-direct alongside choreographer Matthew Bourne but one wonders whether this is really worthy of his attention.
  • Andrew felt it only really took off from “Consider Yourself” but Phil was still waiting for it to lift off by the time the curtain came down. Ironically there seemed to be far too much happening on stage –  almost as much as in the audience. The lyric “consider yourself part of the family” struck a sinister chord with Phil who by this point was so tense you could have cracked a seasonal brazil nut between his shoulder blades.
  • Rowan Atkinson is very funny as Fagin – even his first word  -“What?” – gets a laugh. There is some very funny opera glasses business (seemingly inspired by Dame Edna) as he surveys the different levels of the auditorium. It’s a shame he can’t sing, but you can’t have everything in life, can you?
  • Talking of life, the reprise of “It’s A Fine Life” was a complete shambles but then there was something strangely rushed about all of the songs – as though tempo might be a substitute for energy. Or possibly to ensure that the show was over by 10pm so the 134 children could go to bed. But whatever the reason, it’s a disaster. Bart’s delicious lyrics (already competing with the over-amped orchestra) get thrown away in the dash to complete the songs.
  • jodie-prenger-and-andrew-lloyd-webberOne supposes that the big question on the lips of people who care about such things is “What about Jodie Prenger?” Andrew has been affecting complete disinterest in the matter having been barking up the wrong tree from the start of the contest.  Phil insists that Prenger has been his Nancy of choice from the start (if not that of Lloyd Webber or Cameron Mackintosh). Unfortunately she seemed to be losing her voice the night the Whingers saw it, but she still sang well, if not making a huge impression on the show. Indeed, some of her natural personality seems to have been knocked out of her. Perhaps it was illness, perhaps it was the trauma of having spent a week in Les Miserables or perhaps this was acting. It was impossible to tell.
  • Burn Gorman (Mr Guppy from Bleak House and Owen Harper in Torchwood) is fine as Bill Sikes but principally serves to remind us just how little anybody gets to do in Oliver! He doesn’t even get to do much with his dog, handing it over to a wrangler when he comes on stage and taking it back when he leaves.
  • Where was Rosemary Leach? She’s on the posters but not in the programme and her part is now being played by Louise Gold. The Whingers were very disappointed and considered asking for their money back.
  • On the plus side, it was lovely to see WEW fave Myra Sands in the chorus. My, but that woman’s had a busy year what with Gigi, Funny Girl at Chichester and now this. Time to get this woman out of the West End chorus. We think she could be Nancy.
  • For the record: we saw the Welsh Oliver Twist but we don’t know who the Artful Dodger was.
  • There was on-stage vomiting during Oom-Pah-Pah which was rather thrown away.
  • We had forgotten that the name of the inn is “The Three Cripples”****  but it was a timely reminder as the Whingers are currently looking for a name for their planned late night cabaret bar in the West End.

Frankly, we can’t remember being so disappointed in something. Never mind, Andrew has tickets to see David Tennant in Hamlet in a few days’ time so that will make up for it.

Footnotes

* Yes. It has taken eight days to get round to writing it up. That’s how dispirited we are by the whole thing.

** Didn’t Oliver! used to have an overture? Not any more.

*** This is a preview. But the tickets are the same price as they will be after the show opens on 14th January.

**** Trivia. Q: Who plays the singer at The Three Cripples in David Lean’s 1948 film version of Oliver Twist?

A: Hattie Jacques.

55 Responses to “Review – Oliver!, Drury Lane”

  1. Jarlath Says:

    Oh dear, sounds as dreadful as I expected. I’m just hoping that Peter Kay’s show will finally be the death knell for all those dreadful tv talent competitions.

    Agree with you totally about Myra Sands. For years I’ve wanted to see her one woman show “Sands in My Shoes”. I think we need to start a campaign.

    Merry Christmas and keep up the good work.

    J


  2. Methinks ALW long ago began eating others’ vital organs as well. Fortunately, he couldn’t eat into the Whingers’ minds. Enjoyed the review here, as always.

    Merry Christmas to you both. Here’s to more Whinging in 2009! Looking forward to our next toast together.

  3. Barry Says:

    Delurking to post this comment. Great review.

    I have heard mixed things about Jodie since she started and haven’t heard anything how Tamsin is going in the role (since she’s only had to performance twice in previews so far). Have you heard anything their performances (in terms of comparisons). I’m heading into London in February and am trying to decide whether to go to the Wed Matinee or Evening (because each does a different one).

  4. Suzan Says:

    Attended the same performance as yourselves and have been trying since to find some reviews of the show so very grateful for your words.

    You have summed up how I felt – strangely let down. All breasts, bravado and brashness which actually came over as just a bit boring and bland. Extravegant scenery and opulent sets are no subsitute for genuine acting and real depth.

    PS – I go to the theatre loads and can assure you I wasn’t texting, eating sweets or coughing! However the women next to me thought it was a Karioke singalong which really got on my nerves so I’m with you on the comments!

  5. webcowgirl Says:

    Huh. Somehow this makes me feel that Dance Dance Revolution was a far superior choice (imagine “Footloose” meets “Logan’s Run,” but with glitter).

  6. Lynne Says:

    Thank you so much for this review – it cheered up my first morning back at work no end.

    It is so refreshing to find that I am not alone in my moaning about those who only go to the theatre when drawn by a big name or reality tv show. Did they also scrape their plastic spoons around their ice cream tubs as the second half commenced just to ensure they didn’t miss the slightest drop? For me that sound is on a par with ruller scraped across a table!


  7. Hey Great Review And i don’t f**king blame you on the PEOPLE THAT DON’T NORMALLY GOT TO THE THEATRE cos that irritates the life out of me, anyway i am seeing Oliver! Tonight and i have got a little of my hopes up for it but it will never top my favorite shows Avenue Q & Jersey Boys, On Which I Am Seeing Jersey Boys Again 3/1/09 Front Row🙂
    Ive Seen 13 Shows So Far This Year In London.
    Next Year Should Be Even Bigger!

    Great Review It Helped!

    Daniel🙂

  8. Jon Says:

    The audience behaved exactly the same way when I saw The Sound of Music and Hairspray. I can only imagine this is why both shows were over-amplified (although that only encouraged the audience to talk louder to each other). I despair!

    Will give Oliver a wide berth, thank you!


  9. OMG
    I was so pissed off about it a Women Walk By with her bratty-cockney kids and they stameped on all my belongings, heavey breathing man behind me, it was chaos And Bloody Hot too!

    The Show itself had its Good Things About it and some bad

    Bad: I would’ve loved to have seen the understudy Nancy As she sounds amazin!
    Bullseye Came on twice and only for 3 seconds! aka the best seconds in the show!
    Jodie Wasn’t Amazin!

    Good: Rowan Atkinson! When He Leaves The Show Will Go Down Hill I reckon!
    The Set Is Incredible!
    Our Oliver Was Brill “Laurence”
    Bill Sykes aka Burn Gorman Brilliant as i watch torchwood i know what hes normally like and top notch acting there!

    ARTFUL DODGER IS A LEGEND IN IT!

    Out Of 10 the show was 6/10

    3 Stars

    Its Ok!

    Wouldn’t See it again!

    • Angela Haley Says:

      My goodness, what snobbery! I do go to the theatre as often as there is something I’d like to see, but can’t believe these terrible comments about “people who don’t normally go to the theatre”. Aren’t you here to review the show, not making disparaging comments about the people who have paid a lot of money to see it? Give them a break – they have probably saved long and hard for the night out. I think it’s great that television shows have encouraged people to come to the west end theatres.

      Anyway, to the real business. I saw the show on 27th June, so well into it’s run. I thought it was superb and enjoyed every minute. The only minor negative is that I didn’t find Jodie Prenger a very believable Nancy. Lionel Bart’s songs are, of course, fabulous and the scenery was brilliant. I’d love to go again tomorrow.

      • hayley Says:

        I agree with you Angela Haley.

        No wonder it is so hard to get new audiences into theatre with this total middle class stuck up your own arses snobbery still going on. Its the year 2010. Get a grip.

        And just so you know I do go to the theatre all the time and I am practising to be a Theatre Designer and i would like to think that when my career takes off, I will be making theatre that is accesible to everyone, Where all kinds are welcome.

        Where did theatre begin? If you look back to roman and greek productions the whole point of the show was to call out and heckle and be involved anyway!! I went to see the rocky horror show last year and the whole audience was singing and dancing along, throwing jokes at Ainsley Harriet and he loved it and interacted right back with it.

        Theatre is about life, witnessing it, acting it out. Its about experience and storytelling. If people like you are going to force us all to sit in a victorian birdcage of silence the of course audiences are going to eventually disappear and if that ever happens it will be a very VERY sad day.

        Sean Kenny designed oliver in 1960 and as a designer he wanted theatre to dispose of this old fashioned straight laced false life through a picture frame plays and to create something open and raw and immersive for people to be IN an environment.

        Your all SNOBS.

      • Andrew Haydon Says:

        “Where did theatre begin? If you look back to roman and greek productions the whole point of the show was to call out and heckle and be involved anyway!!”

        The whole point of The Orestia and Oedipus Rex was to shout: “Look behind you!”? Unlikely. Also, worth noting that in ancient Greece, theatre was the sole preserve of citizens – i.e. slave-owning men. Yes, it’s cute to pretend that the ancients had got democracy all sewn up, and it’s only now that we’ve invented snobbery, but the simple fact of the matter is, the reason that the ancient Greeks and Romans didn’t speak ill of the workers, is because they owned them.

        Oh, and it’s “You’re all snobs”.

        And, my God, why are you commenting on a comment made in June ’09 about a review written in Dec ’08? I at least have the excuse of having been alerted to your nonsense by email…

  10. dogface99 Says:

    The thing is that when an audience is largely made up of people who don’t usually go to the theatre , not only do they not know what they are seeing but they don’t go to the theatre again unless its another show marketed for people who don’t go to the theatre. Maybe there should be a secret password for people who DO go to the theatre so that they can be forewarned that the show is actually for people who don’t go to the theatre….

  11. Tony Taylor Says:

    I always remembered the singer at “The Three Cripples” in the David Lean film as being Betty Paul and that Hattie Jaques had a speaking role but I could be mistaken.

  12. Cecilia Says:

    What a shame that so many children have waited so long to see ‘their’ Nancy in this show and it is so very disappointing.There are aspects of the show that are excellent:Rowan Atkinson’s performance was superb but there are far too many areas where it falls flat and the bawdy, sexual inuendo is totally out of place. Most disappointing.

  13. Ralph Says:

    Oh dear, “people who don’t normally go to the theatre ” please stay away this coming saturday, yes, the 10th of january, please stay home and watch “Britain needs you” please, please ,please.
    I promise to wtite back after we have seen the show and I loved reading this review, thank you so much.

  14. taddy Says:

    Saw it the other night and nothing has changed. Thought Jodie was great singing “As long as he needs me” but was inaudible in “Oom pahpah” . It’s all too busy – you don’t know where to look and the orchestra sounds tinny.
    And talk about Dick van dyck! There were some of the worst northern accents on that stage that I’ve heard in a long time and in the programme it said the workhouse was in the Midlands! The Guy playing Mr Bumble was terrible. Over acting at it’s worst.
    All a bit dull really. And come the bow, Rowan Atkinson looked like he’d rather be eating his own foot than being in the line-up. Why is he doing it? He don’t need the money!

  15. DavidG Says:

    Brilliant (and helpful) review. I’m seeing it tonight (second of three theatre outings this week) and can only agree with what you say about noisy non-regulars.

    I suspect the overture has been ditched as people these days seem to use it as an opportunity to talk even louder and faster. I gave up long ago whispering a spit-filled, “Do you mind, I am trying to enjoy the music…”

  16. Ralph Says:

    Absolutely brilliant although I agree with “Taddy” about Mr Bumble (Julius D’silva) and my family thought Burn Gorman was quite weak and un convincing as Bill Sykes, even though he recieved un welcomed “Boo’s during the encore.
    In our humble opinion Rowan Atkinson and Jodi Prenger make it all so worthwhile, Rowan Atkinsons experience shines through and the show will suffer come July when he leaves.
    Wendy ferguson as widow corney was excellent (I shall scream) as was Eric Dibb-Fuller as the Artful Dodger, he deserves praise galore.
    We did have a group of 21 behind us who talked and rustled sweet rappers a little but I was suprised at the lack of “those who do not attend the theatre regularly” being in attendance.
    I would recommend “Oliver” as a must see show, great sets and music, enjoy.

  17. Sarah Says:

    You must remeber not everyone had fast amounts of money to spend on going to the theatre. I would love to take my family and we would certainly know how to behave – however I will have to save up £200 to go – how do “people how don’t normally go to the threatre” get cheap tickets – your tone is a bit snooty – though did enjoy your review.


  18. We’ll try and be less snooty in the future, but you ask a good question, Sarah. We don’t know. Benefit fraud?

  19. pb Says:

    Sarah touches on what I think is a sensible point- “people who don’t normally go to the theatre” (PWDNGTT) are more likely to only go to these big shows, which are incredibly expensive. Then they, the PWDNGTT, think that theatre is expensive, and hence can’t go to see other shows… But then some people I’m sure would argue this a good thing.

  20. MR D Says:

    You stuck up pricks, “people that dont normally go the theatre!!!” what the f**k!!!

    Do you think that the theatre is reserved for people like you, that your opinion for whatever reason is more justified than anyone else?? I went to the jan 17th show and thought it was amazing, from the music, the acting and the AUDIENCE!!

  21. MR D Says:

    And also the set design was stunning and incredibly well worked through the show!!

    I agree that these talent shows are saturating the television, but in this case it can be overlooked as the end result was just brilliant!! This, were better than you, high and mighty attitude to the theatre is bulls***t, what, do you think you enjoy it on some other level to us???

    And it would appear that in your infinate wisdom, you think that children shouldn’t be introduced to classic stories like oliver! Genius!!! its like “we found it first, and were not sharing!!”


  22. What do we think the D in ‘Mr D’ stands for? Dysfunctional?

    And from the semi-literate raging above, I’d like to single out ‘sweet rappers’ as my favourite concept. I’m imagining Dizzee Rascal crooning Ol’ Man River …

  23. Sue Hendy Says:

    If there had been no popular TV programme associated with this ‘Oliver’ perhaps the remarks from ‘those who often go to the theatre’ would be less miserable! Bah-humbug. It was a great show, fantastic energy, and very smooth production (bar the paper coins)! Rowan Atkinson was treated like a national treasure by the audience and Burn Gorman like Darth Vador for his ominous entrance. And well done Jodie!

  24. P6J6 Says:

    Speaking as one of the lowly ‘people who don’t often go to the theatre’ (I live in N.E. England and can’t afford to make regular trips to London, sadly). On this occasion, I paid hundreds of pounds in travel, theatre tickets and accommodation, expressly to see Jodie as Nancy, only to be told on arrival that ‘illness’ would prevent her from performing that night (Mon 12th Jan). Show not bad, but spoiled as we didn’t get to see who we paid to see. Worse still, she then went on to perform at the press show on Wednesday 14th Jan without problem. Strange and miraculous recovery by Ms Prenger that she’s fit and well for a show she’s not scheduled to perform in (ie Wed eve) and doesn’t bother to turn up for one due to ‘illness’ she is scheduled to perform in (ie Mon eve). Learned the hard way I guess. “Gotta Pick A Pocket Or Two”, eh?

  25. J.A. Says:

    Are the no theatres in the North East?

  26. JohnnyFox Says:

    Only Hampstead and Hackney Empire. Beyond that, it’s forest.

  27. ian jenkins Says:

    I am a PWDNGTTT and am going for the first time on February 21 to watch Oliver. I am not in any way interested in reality TV or am i interested in eating sweets during the performance. I am however interested in doing what i want when i want without people looking down thier noses at me. I fell upon this website by accident and feel quiet aggrieved by some of the comments i find.
    I am well read well educated and enjoy doing my own thing. I go to see Oliver because i like the book and god forbid the TV film. Come on people you are putting people off the theatre. Although i someone scrunches sweet wrappers next to me i will ram them where the sun does not shine.

  28. Helen Smith Says:

    Ian Jenkins, I DNGTT because I get so irritated by members of the audience hmmm hmmming, coughing, texting and opening sweet wrappers during the performance. Pls don’t feel aggrieved. This website is for you, just as it is for me. Join us.

  29. P6J6 Says:

    J.A. : Yes, there are a couple but sadly, lots of the ‘big’ shows (such as Oliver) don’t tour up here and only run their course in London theatres – Not sure where you’re from, but I sometimes envy people in close proximity to London – feel sure I would frequent the theatre a lot more if I was !

  30. Christian Ball Says:

    I wanted to like this so much, but it is not a patch on Sam Mendes original production at the Palladium. Didn’t see Rowan Atkinson, but his understudy was pretty good. Jodie Prenger was the best performer on the day, the kids were too stageschool for my liking and no amount of fancy set can hide the fact that this is a weak production with poor direction. To think that Lord of the Rings moved out for this toss…

    • JohnnyFox Says:

      “Sam Mendes original production at the Palladium”

      You must be about fourteen, the “original production” was at the New Theatre (later the Albery, later still the Noel Coward) in 1960.

      • Christian Ball Says:

        34 actually – Sam Mendes’ original production was what this revival was based on. I meant original in the context of the revival, not the actual show! Doh!


  31. Ooh, I hadn’t read this selection of comments before (thanks Mark Shenton for the heads-up in today’s blog).

    I don’t think it is snobbery (although that might be because I’m a terrible snob)…

    There’s a thread for swapping stories about terrible co-audients on the What’s On Stage chat board thingy. I once read it all in its entirety and got very depressed about the whole world.

    From what I can gather, though, these might not be PWDNGTTT so much as people who simply lack any consideration for others and who are mercifully repelled by anything which is marketed as being in the least bit thoughtful.

    If I were given to bursts of self-confession, I might admit that it might well be this that attracts me to p**t-dr*****c theatre – at least the audience is usually as quiet and misanthropic as myself 🙂


  32. Someone in the row behind us at Private Lives last night was eating the crunchiest nuts I’ve ever heard. During the quiet bits. And this is in Hampstead! If you can’t find good manners in Hampstead, where can you?


  33. It’s probably because “The Hampstead” is in Swiss Cottage 🙂

    Crunchy nuts during Private Lives doesn’t sound good, though. Will be really interested to read your review – which reminds me, I should stop commenting on your blog and write mine…

  34. Marilyn Says:

    Saw the Wednesday matinee 11/2 well deserved standing ovation. Lovely lavish production, great energy, and pleasure of sharing Oliver experience with his friends in the audience who were rightly rowdy at the end! However, it does not compare with Billy Elliot, so if you have to choose [and most of us have budgets – regular theatre goers or not!] then Billy should be it. Rowan A’s performance fun and polished – Nancy, Oliver, and Others fine fun, whilst the Artful Dodger was a performance delight. A ‘feel good’ show to delight and of the TV winners a far better production than the sad Joseph – even if Lee Mead was great.

  35. CC Says:

    Hubby and I went to the matinee on 14th Feb, we’d paid for “top price seats” (whatever that means) yet could not see the stage without some nifty neck work! This aside, we thoroughly enjoyed the show. Rowan Atkinson was a hilarious revelation, Jodie as Nancy didn’t disappoint, Oliver was forgettable and the Artful Dodger positively shone!
    Stunning sets might not make a show but they do enhance it, these were some of the best sets I’ve seen.
    Jersey Boys is next on my list when we again travel ‘dahn sarf’ to the west end!

  36. Phil Says:

    This is all very elitist – the conservative tone of the review, the “benefit fraud” and “numbered seating” comments.

    It’s all going a bit Victorian for the Whingers.

  37. Suzanne Hardy Says:

    Was so dissapointed in not seeing Jodie as Nancy Weeekend cost £300 for Hotel Etc
    Rowan Atkinson Brill Oliver wet and week Artful Doger Great Nancy Tasmin not oustanding why support London theatres etc when these people are not in the show if going to see a artist sorry but expect tosee that person perform this has happpened to me twice will think again before booking any more Shows

  38. J.A. Says:

    Do you ever take a holiday from work Suzanne?

  39. piper Says:

    I agree with most of what you say but the benefit fraud comment wasn’t necessary. anyway, i have not seen a show in London for quite some time and i still think they should not allow food and drink. just my opinion. we had wine on the outside balcony at Her Majesty’s at Phantom and that was fine with me.
    i suspect you can get cheap tickets in Leicester Square if needed. any 5* hotels we have stayed in have West End tickets for you at the ready for cheap or as a gift.
    i knew Jodie was going to flop. I am sure Jessie would have as well.

  40. JohnnyFox Says:

    Quite amused to see some of the moppets in the later crowd scenes carrying bunches of brightly coloured balloons, particularly as the latex balloon wasn’t mass-produced until the 1930’s …

  41. Cyon Says:

    Just back from the theatre this evening. Very disapointed. Had to laugh at the Whingers description of the audience. I hadn’t realised that Nancy had been cast by a reality show (no I wasn’t on Uranus but nearby Switzerland). That explained the shaven headed Phil Mitchell type with common wife and their seven year old ‘little princess’ in heeled boots and bare midriff in the seats next to me. They kept diving into their Tesco bag to retrieve noisily packaged non-foods during the performance.
    Ah yes the performance. Hideous amplification completely eliminated the diction. I was seriously wondering if I had a hearing problem at one point. Acting was stilted and singing decidedly uninspiring. Don’t even start me on Djalili. Outrageously trying to steal the show with bizarre references to his ‘signature’ comedy affectations (think Bruce Forsythe adopting The Thinker pose at every inappropriate opportunity). Least satisfying theatre experience to date.

  42. JR Says:

    We saw Act I of Oliver a few months ago on a trip to London from Manhattan. The audience was noisy (but not unbearable.) What was unbearable was the show as performed. The chorus of unison funny walks, the love-me-aren’t-I-adorable antics of the Dodger, the pver-amplification (what? I’m still a little deaf…) had us running in the aisles at intermission. Ms Prenger sang reasonably well, although her big song went by at such a clip, it should be re-titled, “Where’s my song?” Rowan Atkinson, whom I was predisposed not to appreciate, was quite funny. You’ll have to ask someone else about Act II.

    I want to add that the practice of bringing champagne, red wine, etc. into the theater, regardless of historical precedent, is extremely distracting. The smell of bad red wine is not what I want to be thinking about during Oliver or Hamlet.

  43. JKH Says:

    Ah, Jodie Pringles, um, Prenger.
    The reason Reality Casting should be thoroughly destroyed.
    ALW has been doing it too much.
    Maria: I supported Helena Blackman. I hated Connie. Most of my friends agree.
    Joseph: I loathed Lee, I supported Keith. OH COME ON! Friends agreed.
    So, my least favourite wins, my favourite comes second.
    So, Oliver…
    I supported Niamh. (Recently saw her in Mamma Mia and trekked to Edinborugh to see her in Only The Brave)
    DEATH TO REALITY CASTING!!!

  44. Andrew Says:

    Just saw it with my 11year old who loved it . The audience were fine, being a super snob I dont really distinguish between the chavs who attended Oliver and the ghastly (note paper/ serviette) middle classes from the stockbroker belt you normally find at the theatre.

    However, the Amplification is dire I was sitting centre of the stalls and the music totlly drowned out most of the singing. A lot of which was flat but that isnt surprising with that level of amlification and no monitors.

  45. Emily Says:

    hey i’ve seen the show it was amazing🙂 i guss the money is all worth it.. I saw some one that i new in the preformance William….
    He is an amazing actor he may be small and all that but he is well georgus..
    I also couldnt wait to see the guy from roman mysterys cos he is like well buff ahaa…
    ROWIN AKINSON, come on he was unbeliveabley good i love all the songs they were great too…xxxx😛 (L)


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