Theatre review: Oliver

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Over the years I have seen many performances of Oliver! - some good, some better - so it may seem a little strange that I am still asking for more.

But this is a classic format and , as I have discovered, no two performance are ever exactly alike.

For a start Lionel Bart’s classic musical is reliant on the varying talents of young children, although from my experience its the adults not the children who make or break the show - a mistake or slip-up by a child makes it all the more endearing.

But there is no such issues in this spectacular new production which see the traditional script and score shaken up a bit. All the classic songs are there and the traditional scenes do not disappoint. But there is added flare in the script, acting and staging which brings unexpected strands of humour, not least by the show’s star Neil Morrissey.

As Fagin he is luminous and unexpected, a contrast to his fame-making roles in men Behaving Badly and in voicing the dulcet tones to a certain cartoon builder - a role he references when he asks himself is he can fix a stolen chandelier. Of course ‘yes he can!’

He contrasts well with the charming Oliver, played 12-year-old Harry Polden and the vivacious Artful Dodger, characterised wonderfully by Max Greisbach.

For me the star of the show was Samantha Barks, who plays Nancy’s shades of light and dark perfectly and whose soaring voice raised the rooftop - mesmerising even for Manchester United’s finest who were sitting a row in front of me. Both Wayne and Colleen Rooney were generous in their applause and so they should, it was a fantastic show with ensemble pieces not to be missed..

More, more, more!