REVIEW: Oliver with a Twist (Leicester Square Theatre) ★★★★

Oliver with a Twist may well be the most horrendous literary adaptation of all time but it also somehow manages to be the most fun nights I’ve had at a theatre…. ever.

Brought to the Leicester Square Theatre by “Shitfaced Showtime”, Oliver with a Twist is the latest instalment to bring a classic literary tale to life in the most chaotic way imaginable. For those who don’t know, to summarise the concept of this company, before the show, one member of the cast gets… Shitfaced. The production then attempts to go on as normally as possible whilst working around the inebriated cast member. Before the show begins, the audience are shown a trolley featuring what the cast member has chosen to drink, but we are not told which cast member has drunk it, so it is up to the audience to work out who the drunk one is as the show begins.

Adapted from Charles Dickens’ classic tale Oliver Twist (of course), we follow the story, albeit loosely, of the world’s most famous hungry orphan boy and his journey to happiness. This one hour adaptation is loaded with fabulous modern changes which make it all the more funny and watchable for a 2019 audience.

At press night, the drunk performer was Issy Wroe Wright (also Producer for Shitfaced Showtime) who played Oliver.

I was surprised to see this production featured songs from Sweeney Todd, Les Miserables, My Fair Lady, Singing In The Rain, Annie and (of course) Oliver! This small but mighty cast poured their energy into an array of musical numbers which were made all the more comical thanks to the stumbling and lack of coordination from their tiddly Twist.

The best part about these evenings is you truly do not know what is coming next. People handle their alcohol in very different ways and could react in any way at any time. Our Oliver introduced himself as “Oliver Smashing Lady Twist” which the other cast members ran with for the duration of the show. When she should’ve been dancing, she instead decided to take a seat on the floor so the other cast members bent down to her level to continue as best they could. “I AM JUST STRETCHING” (s)he slurred. Later on, when Bill Sykes takes it upon himself to hit the lovely Nancy, our Oliver responded with “No! You do NOT hit women, you *expletive* *expletive*!” before then taking a swing at him himself.

What I love most about the Shitfaced Showtime concept is that no matter how many times you return to these productions, you will never get the same scenarios twice. If you are looking for an hour or so of absolute entertainment and laugh-out-loud-till-your-ribs-hurt kind of fun this is the night for you. It’ll be the worst production of Dickens you’ll ever see, but if you have but one funny bone in your body, you’ll love every minute of it.

Reviewed by Harriet Langdown
Photo: Rah Petherbridge


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