'Oliver!' to return to the West End in December

Lionel Bart's adaptation of Charles Dickens’s novel will have direction and choreography by Matthew Bourne. It opens at the Gielgud Theatre in December.

Olivia Rook
Olivia Rook

A new revival of Oliver! will transfer to the West End this December. Lionel Bart's adaptation of Charles Dickens’s novel will open at the Gielgud Theatre.

The cast will include Simon Lipkin (Elf) as Fagin, Shanay Holmes (Miss Saigon) as Nancy, Aaron Sidwell (The Lord of the Rings) as Bill Sikes, Billy Jenkins (Dodger) as the Artful Dodger, and Philip Franks (Art) as Mr Brownlow.

The production will be directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne, in collaboration with Cameron Mackintosh, and opens at Chichester Festival Theatre in July, before transferring to the West End.

Mackintosh said: “Oliver! has been part of my life as actor, stage-manager and producer since I first saw it as a schoolboy in 1960, shortly after it opened and began to take the world by storm on stage and screen. The original production design was revolutionary and changed the musical theatre and my career forever.

“Matthew Bourne and I, alongside Sam Mendes, first reinvented Lionel Bart’s masterpiece in 1994 with a huge production at the London Palladium which we restaged in an even grander way in 2009 at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Now 15 years later, having staged the largest production of Oliver! ever, we want to return to the scale of the brilliant original with a more intimate production, thrillingly designed by Lez Brotherston, which in a sweepingly imaginative way conjures up Dickensian London.

“Lionel’s irresistible adaptation of Dickens classic story, with its legendary score packed with ‘tunes glorious tunes’ will, we hope, have audiences ‘considering themselves our mate’ when we open at London’s Gielgud Theatre this December with a terrific cast, following a summer season at the Chichester Festival Theatre.”

Bourne added: “In 1994, I first worked, as a choreographer, with Cameron Mackintosh on Lionel Bart’s legendary musical Oliver! – the spectacular Palladium revival, directed by Sam Mendes – it launched a collaboration and friendship that has become one of the most important of my career. Nearly 30 years on I’m delighted that Cameron has invited me to direct my first musical and my lifelong relationship with Oliver! continues!

“I was lucky enough to work closely with Lionel on the 1994 revival which was an absolute thrill (though in a recently unearthed TV interview when asked about the production he tells the interviewer ‘Some days I wanted to fire the lot of em’!!). But I loved him a lot (and I think he liked me!) and hope to do him and Oliver! proud in 2024.”

Oliver! follows an orphaned boy as he escapes a London workhouse and finds refuge in the city’s underworld. Some of the musical's most well-known songs include “Food Glorious Food”, “Consider Yourself”, ”You’ve Got to Pick-a-Pocket or Two”, and “As Long As He Needs Me”.

The rest of the creative team includes co-director Jean-Pierre van der Spuy, designer Lez Brotherston, musical supervisor and conductor Graham Hurman, lighting designers Paule Constable and Ben Jacobs, sound designer Adam Fisher, video designer George Reeve, original orchestrator William David Brohn, and orchestral adaptator Stephen Metcalfe.

Further cast is yet to be announced.

Check back for Oliver! tickets on London Theatre.

Photo credit: artwork for Olivier! (Courtesy of production)

Originally published on

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