Reviewed on Tuesday 1st December 2015
Paul Kerryson's new production of Oliver! makes the perfect festive treat for all the family. The standard of Leicester's Christmas musicals is always high, but never before have I seen such a sturdy set being used for a Curve production - designer Matt Kinley has done a terrific job.
Earlier this year the Watermill's actor-musician production of Oliver! was a revelation - it was so nice to see the show given a new lease of life. Here Kerryson's production is traditional and, at times, played a little too safe. The first act in particular lacks grit - things are too plain sailing.
Reprising her performance from the most recent UK tour, Cat Simmons means serious business as she steps out on stage as Nancy. Simmons appears to be having the time of her life during 'It's a Fine Life' and 'Oom-Pah-Pah'. She then acts her way through 'As Long As He Needs Me', showing off some raw vocal tones.
Elsewhere stand outs include James Gant as Mr Bumble, Jenna Boyd as Widow Corney and Jez Unwin who gives the evening's finest comedic performance as Mr Sowerberry. There were a few technical issues with sound which I'm sure have already been ironed out - overall the production feels slick. Andrew Wright's choreography is wonderful, utilising the extended part of the stage which gives the first few rows an up close and personal experience.
I was surrounded by people trying their hardest not to sing-along; Oliver! features iconic song after iconic song. Once again I know I will find myself humming 'Consider Yourself' in days and weeks to come. Bringing generations together, you really can't go wrong with Oliver!.
Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)
Oliver! runs at the Curve Leicester until Saturday 23rd January 2016.
Please visit www.curveonline.co.uk for further information and tickets.
Photo Credit: Pamela Raith