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Oliver! The Musical


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#21 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 12:32 PM

"Didn't Lionel Bart's original show spring up from real gritty, Brechtian roots?"

Yes. The original production had 12 kids (not 150) and was a big success without a huge set and technical fanfares, it actually started in a music hall theatre in Hackney. The musical speaks for itself if you produce it well, as said above. I agree that if you want to put it on again so soon after a (very good) production was succesful in 1994 and ran for 3 years - you have to give it something different and not just copy the formula from ten years ago. I hope that this is not what has taken place.

#22 Ian

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 12:43 PM

QUOTE(Guest @ Dec 15 2008, 12:32 PM) View Post
"Didn't Lionel Bart's original show spring up from real gritty, Brechtian roots?"

Yes. The original production had 12 kids (not 150) and was a big success without a huge set and technical fanfares, it actually started in a music hall theatre in Hackney. The musical speaks for itself if you produce it well, as said above. I agree that if you want to put it on again so soon after a (very good) production was succesful in 1994 and ran for 3 years - you have to give it something different and not just copy the formula from ten years ago. I hope that this is not what has taken place.


Sam Mendes elected not to return to direct but the official lines states "Rupert Goold (Best Director, 2008 Olivier Awards), will be restaging Sam Mendes acclaimed production",  so I would guess that Goold has not had an entirely free hand in the direction.
The engine roared, the motor hissed,
And who could see that the road would twist

#23 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 01:22 PM

Hi Weez

In reference to your comment - "I can't say I remember any grit or real emotion in 'Billy Elliot' - I've seen the show numerous times, and EVERY performance I've been surrounded by people in tears during the letter scene.

But I fully appreciate each to their own.

CM's decision in restaging Oliver seems to be solely commercial - a feel good, lighthearted musical designed to rake in the cash ... I just can't see the sustainability ... especially with nothing out of the ordinary ( besides Atkinson as a draw card ) to really set it above everything else.

The second half of the show felt extremely short ( show started 7:30 pm - finished by 10 pm including interval ) and the happy ending of Oliver returned to his grandfather is hardly resolution. The story also doesn't explore / provide reasoning for why Oliver's mother abandoned him ...

All in all, I left unfulfilled. But again - through no fault of the cast ... maybe I was expecting something different from the tried & tested formula that CM has with Oliver.

#24 Guest_Giggleboy_*

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 03:14 PM



What if CM cast 143 kids in the show for philanthropic reasons i.e. to give that many kids a chance of working with professional diretors, actors and musicians!? There's certainly no artistic justification for having that many children there. Commercially I guess you get loads of bums on seats from relatives and friends of the kids in the show, but perhaps not enough to make a difference with receipts that size. That would be a cynical reason for casting so many children. What do you think?

#25 Guest_guest_*

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 03:23 PM

QUOTE(Giggleboy @ Dec 15 2008, 03:14 PM) View Post
What if CM cast 143 kids in the show for philanthropic reasons i.e. to give that many kids a chance of working with professional diretors, actors and musicians!? There's certainly no artistic justification for having that many children there. Commercially I guess you get loads of bums on seats from relatives and friends of the kids in the show, but perhaps not enough to make a difference with receipts that size. That would be a cynical reason for casting so many children. What do you think?


I'm sure there must be a slight worry for CM, I don' think anyone really believed this credit crunch would hit this hard. Most people are worried about money and the ticket prices are so high.

#26 Guest_Giggleboy_*

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 03:54 PM

I calculate that if each child in the show had 15 friends, relations, family come to see them in top price seats in the course of their run the production would be making a profit on the kids in relation to what they pay them.

#27 Haz

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 03:56 PM

QUOTE(Giggleboy @ Dec 15 2008, 03:54 PM) View Post
I calculate that if each child in the show had 15 friends, relations, family come to see them in top price seats in the course of their run the production would be making a profit on the kids in relation to what they pay them.


If they are friends of the cast then they won't be paying top price.

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#28 Weez

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 04:10 PM

I was going to say I'd be MOST miffed if my friends and family wouldn't pay top price to see me in a West End show, but my parents wouldn't even pay top price to see me in a regional production. Boo. sad.gif

Still, even at half price, 15 friends and family members for each child goes a LONG way towards the running costs. smile.gif

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#29 busymum

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 05:05 PM

Just to give you all some more facts, there are actually only 102 children in the main cast who are split into three roughly equal teams as shown in the programme.

There are also an additional 30 ish kids who make up 2 teams of extra kids who are bussed in for the opening number only on alternate nights.

As for artistic justification, there needs to be this many kids to have the right impact in the workhouse and as the children have to be alternated due to licence conditions you need three teams. Of course they are not all performing on the same nights blink.gif  blink.gif

The workhouse scene with roughly 50 kids in it is the biggest number and is fantastically done with kids entering from all aspects of the stage including some stairs under the passerelle. The stage does not look crowded and the singing is fantastic.

The parents of the childrens cast do not get free or discounted tickets and besides, the show was sold out for virtually the first 6 months before the children's cast had been confirmed so whilst it might look like a ploy to sell more tickets, the parents are struggling to get tickets!

The set is fantastic and the best WE set I have ever seen, very cleverly done how the kids drop down into the thieves kitchen. Rowan ATkinson is brilliant and can sing too! Jodie handles the big numbers really well and the comedy of It's your funeral is great too. Laurence as Oliver is excellent and Ross as Dodger plays the part brilliantly too.

Don't believe everything you read on here about the show, it is very watchable and although we all know the outcome it is definitely worth seeing......if you can get tickets biggrin.gif

Busy Mum

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 05:34 PM

QUOTE(busymum @ Dec 15 2008, 05:05 PM) View Post
Just to give you all some more facts, there are actually only 102 children in the main cast who are split into three roughly equal teams as shown in the programme.

There are also an additional 30 ish kids who make up 2 teams of extra kids who are bussed in for the opening number only on alternate nights.

As for artistic justification, there needs to be this many kids to have the right impact in the workhouse and as the children have to be alternated due to licence conditions you need three teams. Of course they are not all performing on the same nights blink.gif  blink.gif

The workhouse scene with roughly 50 kids in it is the biggest number and is fantastically done with kids entering from all aspects of the stage including some stairs under the passerelle. The stage does not look crowded and the singing is fantastic.

The parents of the childrens cast do not get free or discounted tickets and besides, the show was sold out for virtually the first 6 months before the children's cast had been confirmed so whilst it might look like a ploy to sell more tickets, the parents are struggling to get tickets!

The set is fantastic and the best WE set I have ever seen, very cleverly done how the kids drop down into the thieves kitchen. Rowan ATkinson is brilliant and can sing too! Jodie handles the big numbers really well and the comedy of It's your funeral is great too. Laurence as Oliver is excellent and Ross as Dodger plays the part brilliantly too.

Don't believe everything you read on here about the show, it is very watchable and although we all know the outcome it is definitely worth seeing......if you can get tickets biggrin.gif

Busy Mum


I don't tend to believe everything I read on here - especially when written by people with an interest in the show!




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