Oliver! – Keighley Musical Theatre Company

WHAT A show!

Oliver! is one of my favourite shows but Tuesday's performance was as good as any of the dozen or so I have seen over the years, it was brilliant.

The set was magnificent and doubled up as a workhouse, London market, Fagin's slum, London Bridge, a lounge – even a mortuary – and the cast made full use of the stage, the bridge and more doorways than I could count.

As usual, the choreography was magnificent and each character, and there were nearly 40 of them, seemed to have their own dance routines.

The lead characters were all peerless and extracted every ounce of humour out of what is a fairly grim story, and the singing was of the highest quality. I was enchanted by the whole production.

All the songs got five stars on my review-ometer, but I gave an extra one for Who Will Buy which flowed like silk with five then 10 then 30 characters singing and weaving round the stage and bridge with a gusto and joy that was infectious.

The costumes got the perfect balance between rags and riches, and the orchestra earned their wages with polished clarity.

The show is largely about the boys and they were terrific. Many of them were on the stage for the first time and some of them were as young as seven years old, but spare a thought for young Eddie Chester who broke his arm in a fall in rehearsal and had to pull out the lead role.

I felt for him, but Elliott Hale stepped manfully up to the plate and played Oliver beautifully.

A great night I will remember for a long time.

Martin Carr