Lionel Bart’s Oliver!

It’s Friday again… which means sharing something I love, for no other reason except that I love it.

I love ‘Oliver!’ I grew up listening to the soundtrack on record (yes, on a record player) and reading the lyrics off the age-stained back cover.

I love the mixture of touching and hilarious songs. I love the different characters, from soulful Nancy (“As long as he needs me!”) to evil Bill (“My name”). Fagin is brilliant (“Reviewing the situation”) as a more relatable antagonist, and even Oliver gets a song or two by himself to prove that he’s actually quite a thoughtful protagonist (“Where is love?” and “Who will buy?”).

The film of the same name is a brilliant example of how something can touch on deep themes (abuse, seduction, death, betrayal, poverty, hypocrisy) and remain light-hearted and family-appropriate.

Are the characters caricatures? Is the plot slightly deus ex machina? Probably. But after all, “It’s a fine life!” and if Oliver would go to Timbuktu for Nancy (“I’d do anything”), I think we can deal with that.



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