[Mercury Review]

The Stevenage Lytton Players


May 19th - May 22nd 2004

The Gordon Craig Theatre Stevenage

Director Maxine Holmes.

Musical Director Robert Parker.

The Stevenage Lytton Players Spring 2004 Musical Production Oliver was performed at the Gordon Craig Theatre.


In the dreary confines of a workhouse outside London, Oliver Twist and the other orphans await their daily portion of gruel, while dreaming of Food, Glorious Food. The workhouse is run by Widow Corney and the parish beadle, Mr. Bumble. After the children have been served, young Oliver commits the unpardonable sin of approaching Mr. Bumble with the entreaty “Please sir, I want some more.” While deciding to expel young Oliver, Corney and Bumble find time to flirt, though (false) modesty demands that the widow protest I Shall Scream! Oliver is removed from the workhouse, led off by Bumble, who sings the haunting Boy For Sale. Walking through the streets of London, they arrive at the place of business of the undertaker, Mr. Sowerberry, to whom Oliver is “sold.” Mr. Sowerberry and his wife, Mrs. Sowerberry, sing the morbid That’s Your Funeral. Later, alone and frightened and surrounded by coffins, Oliver sings the plaintive Where Is Love? After a fistfight with the undertaker’s apprentice Noah Claypole, Oliver runs away the very next morning, and is picked up hungry and tired in the streets by the Artful Dodger who cheers him up with the song Consider Yourself. The Dodger leads him through crowded streets to Fagin's kitchen. The boys come in and Fagin himself appears and, with a mock solemn welcome to Oliver, sings You've Got to Pick a Pocket or Two. Nancy, Bill Sikes's girl, and Bet arrive. The two of them, accompanied by the kids and Fagin, celebrate their way of life in It's a Fine Life. The next morning, Fagin sends the boys off on a pocket-picking expedition, Oliver among them. In a case of mistaken identity, Oliver is arrested without ever having picked a pocket.

In the second act, at the underworld tavern “Three Cripples,” Nancy is encouraged to sing a music hall number, Oom-Pah-Pah. Fagin's boys pour down the stairs telling of Oliver's apprehension by the police, at the same time revealing that his innocence has been established and that he is presently ensconced in the home of a rich old gentleman. Fearful lest he give away their set-up, Fagin and Bill Sikes dispatch Nancy to get Oliver back. Meanwhile, at the home of his new-found benefactor, Mr. Brownlow, the erstwhile ragged orphan has become a well-tailored, well cared-for little lad. Looking out of his bedroom window he observes some passing street vendors crying their wares; and with them he sings Who Will Buy? a plea that his good luck and new situation in life will be permanent. However, the moment he sets foot outside his benefactor's house, Oliver is seized and dragged off by Nancy to Fagin's. Meanwhile, Fagin considers going straight in Reviewing the Situation. Subsequently, Bumble and Mrs. Corney, now uncomfortably married, discover that Oliver is the scion of a rich family. Their scheme to get him back fails as Nancy, regretting her part in the capture of Oliver, plans to return him to his benefactor at midnight on London Bridge. Though Nancy is determined to deliver Oliver, she is equally determined not to bring down the law on Bill, As Long as He Needs Me. Sikes, fearful of being exposed, stalks her and kills her. He grabs Oliver and, after a chase, is shot dead. Oliver is restored to Mr. Brownlow, and Fagin, now without boys, home and money, is once again Reviewing the Situation.