York Mumbler Nikki and her 14-year-old recently went to see Oliver at York Theatre Royal. Find out what they thought about it, plus lots of useful information in their review.
Oliver Twist is the infamous Charles Dickens tale of an orphan boy living in Victorian London. Like many children at the time, Oliver finds himself placed in a workhouse where he is subjected to harsh treatment from its owner Mr Bumble. He is quickly sold on after daring to ask for more gruel by whispering the famous line…
“Please Sir, can I have some more?”
Oliver then finds himself trying to survive the grim realities of being a young and naive street child simply trying to survive a time where crime and murder were rife.
The story has been told many times; on television, adapted into films and played in theatres across the country. This time, its York Light Opera Companies turn to wow the crowds with its catchy songs and impressive choreography in the grandeur of York Theatre Royal.
I headed along on their opening night with my 14-year-old in tow. An aspiring actress and singer, this was the perfect opportunity to see how it’s done!
Drinks to start the evening off
The show was to begin at 7.30pm and we arrived at the Theatre in plenty of time. The clean and spacious foyer was already packed with people milling around or enjoying a light bite before the show started.
We joined a large queue of people waiting to buy drinks to take into the auditorium. Whilst it was busy, it wasn’t too long before we were served a Diet Coke and a large glass of Pinot Grigio, so we headed upstairs to find our seats.
Easy to find our seats
York Theatre Royal to its credit, we found is easily signposted and set out in a way that can accommodate a large number of people without feeling claustrophobic. We found our seats quickly and made ourselves comfortable. Looking around, most of the crowd were couples or groups of people aged from about 20 upwards. We only saw a few children at this particular production, but that could be down to the time of day it was shown. I have no doubt that the Saturday matinee performances will be full of children so make sure you book your tickets now to avoid disappointment if you’re planning on going!
Captivated from the start!
A quick browse through the programme (£3.50) promised we were in for a treat. 7.30pm arrived and within minutes of the opening scene a chorus of “Food glorious Food” rung out from the young workhouse boys. From then on, we were captivated. It was energetic, fast-paced and brilliantly choreographed. We soon got to the interlude and left wondering what would become of Oliver after his arrest for pickpocketing. Most people used this as an opportunity to stretch their legs and buy refreshments – the usual ice cream, cakes and coffees, all sold for quite reasonable prices.
On to the second half of a wonderful show
The second half opened with a rapturous round of “Oom-Pah-Pah” from the older cast members. This is where I felt any first-night nerves vanished and they really showed off their enthusiasm for putting on a good show.
What gained the biggest reaction from the crowd was the arrival of Bill Syke’s dog ‘Bullseye’ who was ‘played’ by a real dog, somewhat reluctantly at times as he didn’t go where needed to and was often pulled into position by his lead! They do say you should never work with children or animals, but both were wonderful in this production!
There were a few minor first-night teething issues; Bill Sykes costume began to unravel near his leg and Oliver’s microphone had a few crackly moments at the start. Both were quickly corrected at the first opportunity and both actors carried on like the professionals they are and weren’t phased in the slightest.
The end scene resulted in a gunshot being fired and more than one of the lead characters being killed. Despite the warnings in the Box Office foyer that ‘this production contains gunshots and scenes of violence’, the crack of the gun being fired still made half the audience jump, so ready yourselves for the moment as you have been warned!
Absolute credit goes to all the cast and production team for their wonderful show with the beautiful singing and dancing.
Useful links & information
Oliver is running until Saturday 22nd February 2020 and is the perfect show to watch as a couple, a group of friends or a family as a treat during half term at York Theatre Royal, St Leonard’s Place. York, YO1 7HD
Adult tickets are priced from £12 with concession rates available for over 65’s and children under 18. Buy tickets online here.