Oliver with a Twist – Leicester Square Theatre, London

Writer/Director: Katy Baker
Reviewer: Mike Wells

Shit-faced Shakespeare have been running for the best part of a decade now, with their unique brand of theatre, entertaining audiences in multiple continents. In that time they’ve diversified a little. No longer happy being confined to the works of The Bard, they’ve applied their liberal artistic interpretations to a couple of other classics, and this is one of them.

Featuring songs from Oliver!,My Fair Lady, Les Misand others, it’s not the most loyal of interpretations, but if that’s what you’re after this isn’t the show for you. This is a show that celebrates the anti-norm, keen to surprise and delight at every opportunity. Of course, you never know which of the twists were intentional or not, but that’s the joy of the show, and the reason it’s proved so popular.

The premise of the performance was ably described by our compere for the evening, Katy Baker, who also wrote and directed the show. Four hours before it opened, one of the actors was randomly selected to consume a considerable amount of alcohol before entering the stage. Baker was on hand throughout to ensure the chosen actor was kept suitably intoxicated and encouraged a couple of members of the audience to pitch in with their recommendations too.

Tonight, it was Oliver who pulled the short straw. After consuming half a bottle of gin and a can of craft beer, she leapt onto the stage with the enthusiasm of a new-born pup but the grace of a fish out of water. Played by Issy Wroe Wright, it was a supremely unique performance. To put it simply, she was fantastic.

The rest of the cast demonstrated deft improvisational skill, dragging the show back on track whenever necessary while also understanding when to let the show breathe – and that is the key to this show. It was everything you’d expect from the synopsis. Playful, spontaneous and delightfully candid.

This is not your typical West-End show, but that’s the charm of it. It’s a fabulously funny evening, which will bring a smile to any face. This show is 60 minutes of fun and frivolity, and perfect for someone who fancies a bit of a break from the norm.

Runs until 12th April 2019. | Image: Rah Petherbridge

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The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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