Royal Court Theatre
Performed by Birkenhead Operatic Society Trust (BOST)
Directed by Elsie Kelly
9th – 12th November 2017

Reviewed by Darren Guy and Bobbi

‘It was really good, the set was fabulous and the characters were amazing. My favourite character was the Artful Dodger. The songs were stupendous, my favourites were ‘Consider Yourself’ and ‘I’d Do Anything’. (Bobbi 11-years-old)

The musical sticks step by step closely to Lionel Bart’s famous 1968 film musical, but with a lot more emphasis on the musical, rather than the story. Which in itself is nice, lots of adults in the audience singing along to the usual rousing ‘Consider Yourself’ ‘You got to pick a pocket or two’.

Overall, fabulous entertainment. Great (but basic) set. Wonderful colourful costumes, great music (musical direction Tricia Gaskell), great dancing (choreography by Sarah Walker).

Three performances stuck out for me: Fagin (Tony Prince), who portrays the character wonderfully, and in some cases touching in his affection for his orphans, Nancy (Jennifer Swanepoel) and the Artful Dodger (Brian Comer). All gave wonderful performances.

My only criticism was it stuck almost exclusively to the original cinema musical, with dress and lookalikes characters, and I felt the show relied too much on that, without producing a stand alone theatre piece. Though Fagan’s performance was spot on.

Rather than copy the film characters, I feel they could have submerged themselves into developing their own slant on the characters, adding a bit of authenticity. But because of the former I felt the show lacked the emotional intensity that it deserved. But that didn’t stop it from being a good night out, and from being from start to finish entertaining.

This was the first time I’d been to the Royal Court since I saw the Cramps in 1980, so I was pleasantly surprised by the changes. It was great to see a theatre ‘For the working class’. And not only that a theatre were you can make a full night of it, with food, beer or wine.

Keep the shows coming The Royal Court and well-done ‘BOST’

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