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Book, Music and Lyrics by
Lionel Bart

Adapted from William David Brohn’s Original Orchestrations
By arrangement with Cameron Mackintosh and the Southbrook Group.

‘…memorable from start to finish.’ The Stage ★★★★

‘Lionel Bart’s glorious musical works wonderfully in the Watermill’ Whatsonstage ★★★★★

‘Could this be the next national tour or West End transfer for this inspirational production house?’ Musical Theatre Review ★★★★★

‘energetic and thrilling deliveries of all the big chorus numbers’ Daily Info, Oxford

'...quite simply stunning.' Newbury Weekly News

‘…this is a terrific production – fizzy and thoroughly entertaining…’ The Oxford Times

‘Glorious, high spirted and full of gumption…' A Younger Theatre

‘What a show!’ Henley Standard

Fri 31 Jul 2015 - Sat 19 Sep 2015

Set in London’s murky underworld, Lionel Bart’s much-loved musical tells the story of the runaway orphan Oliver and the colourful characters he encounters following his escape from the workhouse. The bullying Mr Bumble, devious gang leader Fagin, menacing Bill Sikes, his kindly girlfriend Nancy and the Artful Dodger are brought vividly to life in the atmospheric setting of the old mill. A company of the theatre’s trademark actor-musicians, with a supporting cast of Watermill Youth Theatre actors, and Bart’s witty and memorable songs, including You’ve Got to Pick A Pocket Or Two, Consider Yourself and I’d Do Anything, Oliver! will tug at your heart strings, make you smile and most definitely make you want to sing along!

Supported by The Colefax Charitable Trust 

See more production photos here

Running Time
2 hours 25 minutes (including a 20 minute interval).

Directed by Luke Sheppard
Designed by Tom Rogers
Musical Supervisor and Musical Arrangements by Paul Herbert
Lighting designed by Howard Hudson
Sound designed by Tom Marshall
Choreographed by Tim Jackson

See the young cast for Oliver! here


Cameron Blakely


Theatre includes: How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Concert); Fiddler On The Roof (Grange Park Opera); The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole (Leicester Curve); Les Miserables (Queens); Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert (O2 Arena); Mamma Mia! (international tour); Smash (Menier Chocolate Factory); Home and Beauty (Lyric); Over the Moon (Old Vic); Personals (Apollo); Where’s Charley?, The Wind in the Willows, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew (Regent’s Park Open Air); The Promise (Orange Tree); Listen to the Wind (King’s Head); An Evening with Gary Lineker (Riverside Studios); Half a Sixpence (West Yorkshire Playhouse); Thark (Watermill); Othello (Theatr Clwyd).

Film: King Ralph; Splitting Heirs; Julie and the Cadillacs.

TV: Galavant (ABC).

Tomm Coles

Mr Sowerberry

 Theatre includes: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Royal Festival Hall, London), Propaganda Swing (Coventry Belgrade), Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead (Theatre Royal Haymarket, West End), Miss Nightingale (UK tour), The Human Comedy (Young Vic, London), Death of a Salesman (West Yorkshire Playhouse),The Secret Garden (Edinburgh Festival Theatre), Sunset Boulevard (Comedy Theatre, West End), Fiddler on the Roof (Savoy Theatre, West End), Mack and Mabel (Criterion, West End), Romeo and Juliet (Clwyd Theatr Cymru), James and the Giant Peach (Watermill), Pinocchio (Watermill), Animal Farm (West Yorkshire Playhouse).

Film includes: Gullivers’ Travels (Fox UK) and Muppets Most Wanted (Disney)

Rachel Dawson


Theatre includes: These Trees Are Made Of Blood (Southwark Playhouse), Will Harvey's War (Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham), Vice (Workshop), Ernest & The Pale Moon (Uk Tour), Jack & The Giant (The Theatre, Chipping Norton), Cider With Rosie (Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham), A Road Less Travelled (Workshop), Toms Midnight Garden (Bloomsbury Theatre, London), Shakers (Queens Theatre, Hornchurch), Twelfth Night (Minack Theatre, Cornwall), The Terrible Infants (Adelaide Fringe Festival, Australia), The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde (Queens Theatre, Hornchurch), The Vaudevillains (Charing Cross Theatre), Sweeney Todd (Finger In The Pie), The Rape Of Lucrece (Tara Arts), Failed States (Edinburgh Festival)

Rachel trained at Bretton Hall.

Alice Fearn


Theatre includes: Renee in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Savoy Theatre). Gingy/Sugar Plum Fairy/cover Princess Fiona in Shrek (Theatre Royal Drury Lane), Ensemble/cover Laura in The Woman in White (Palace), Factory girl/cover Fantine and Cosette in Les Misérables (Queen’s), Ensemble/cover Dolly in Annie Get Your Gun (Young Vic) and Rapunzel in Into the Woods (Regent’s Park Open Air).

Film includes: Factory Worker in Les Miserables (Working Title films).

Workshops include: Hannah Brown in Easter Parade (ATG), Shazzer in Bridget Jones the Musical (Working Title Productions).

Alice has been a guest singer on Michael Ball's Both Sides Now and If Everyone Was Listening tours, and is a vocalist on many feature films.

Deborah Hewitt


Theatre includes: Wind In the Willows (York Theatre Royal); Godspell (Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch); Animal Farm (Clwyd Theatr Cymru); Dial M for Murgatroyd (Eastern Angles Theatre Company); Dreamboats and Petticoats (Original Cast; UK Tour & Savoy Theatre); Emma Thompson Presents ‘Fair Trade’ (UK Tour and The Pleasance Theatre); Anyone Can Whistle (Jermyn Street); The 101 Dalmatians and Pinocchio (The Castle Theatre, Wellingborough); Pinocchio (Theatre Royal Margate) Son of Man (Canal Café); The Little Dressmaker (Union Theatre).

Screen credits include: Award-winning feature film Colin; WWII feature Their Finest Hour; Sitcom The Home Office Show; and Italia music video for Nicola Benedetti (Decca Records).

Deborah trained at London Studio Centre. 

Joey Hickman


Theatre includes: Trip in The School for Scandal and Balthasar in Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory), The BFG (Birmingham Repertory  Theatre); Band Leader in Three Minute Heroes (Belgrade Theatre); Reverend Kimble & Performance Musical Director in The Threepenny Opera (UK Tour); Gwyn & Assistant Musical Director in The Snow Spider (UK Tour); Various Roles & Touring Musical Director in Our House (UK Tour/New Wolsey Theatre); Billy in I Was A Rat! (UK Tour/Birmingham Repertory Theatre); West End debut playing Andy & Assistant Musical Director in Dreamboats and Petticoats (Playhouse Theatre).

Joey trained on the Actor Musicianship course at Rose Bruford

Graham Lappin

Mr Bumble

Theatre includes: Store Manager in Elf The Musical (Plymouth and Dublin); Toad in Stiles and Drewe’s new musical of The Wind in the Willows (Workshop); Swallows and Amazons (Theatre by the Lake); Piaf (Bolton Octogan); Spread a Little Happiness (Salisbury Playhouse); Legally Blonde (UK Tour); The Drowsy Chaperone (Upstairs at the Gatehouse); The Great British Country Fete (Bush Theatre); Thomas/understudy Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar (UK Tour) and Murray Deutch/understudy Big Bopper/Norman Petty in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (UK and European Tour).

Graham will reprise his role in Elf The Musical in London later this year.

Graham trained at Rose Bruford.

Rhona McGregor

Mrs Sowerberry

Theatre includes: Flo Manero in Saturday Night Fever (UK Tour, English Theatre, Frankfurt); Miss Lynch in Grease (Slovenia); Courtney / Whitney / Mom / u/s Paulette in Legally Blonde the Musical (original UK Tour); Lesley / u/s Dead Mam in Billy Elliot the Musical (Victoria Palace Theatre); Chess (Norway); Edith in The Pirates of Penzance (Kilworth House Theatre); Gertie Grub in Jack and the Beanstalk (Liverpool Playhouse); Fairy Fortunate in Beauty and the Beast (New Wolsey, Ipswich); Lorraine in 42nd Street (Nuffield Theatre, Southampton); Sweet Charity (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford).
TV: Harbour Lights (BBC)

Radio: The Ashes (BBC)
Training: MA in Music Performance (University of Southampton), Guildford School of Acting.

Kit Orton

Bill Sikes

Theatre includes: Tom Jones in Tom (UK Tour); Lancelot in Spamalot (West End & Tour); Jackson in The Hired Man (Mercury Theatre/Leicester Curve); Twelfth Night (Perth Rep); Hot Mikado (UK Tour); Spend Spend Spend (Watermill Newbury); Martin Guerre (Watermill Newbury).

Kit has written a musical called My Land's Shore, based on the Welsh hero Dic Penderyn and the Merthyr Riots (a recording of which is available now).

Kit has also created and manages a vocal group called The FlyBoys, who are currently performing all over the world.

Susannah Van Den Berg

Widow Corney

Theatre includes: Spend Spend Spend and Martin Guerre (Watermill Theatre); Sweeney Todd (English National Opera), Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music (Leicester Curve), Fruma-Sarah in Fiddler on the Roof (UK tour), The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Kensington Gardens), Mother Courage and Her Children (Manchester Library), Chess (Princess of Wales, Toronto), Emelia in The Comedy of Errors (Stafford Castle), General Cartwright in Guys and Dolls (Salisbury, Ipswich and Theatr Clwyd), Pirelli in Sweeney Todd (Ambassador Theatre
Group), Animal Farm (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Amadeus (Wilton’s Music Hall).

Susannah trained at Rose Bruford.

Steve Watts

Mr Brownlow

Theatre includes: For The Watermill Pinafore Swing, Mack & Mabel, Plunder, Merrily We Roll Along and The Wind in the Willows; As You Like It (Cheek By Jowl); Into the Woods (Theatre Royal, York) ; Jumpers (National Theatre and Piccadilly); A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Lady Be Good (Open Air Theatre, Regents Park); My Fair Lady (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and on the UK tour, where Steve took over the role of Henry Higgins); Relatively Speaking (The Wyndham's); Chariots of Fire (The Gielgud); The Mikado (The Charing Cross Theatre).

‘the perfect space to stage a fresh, powerfully intimate interpretation of Lionel Bart’s classic musical…’ The Stage ★★★★

‘Intensely atmospheric, this staging of Oliver! reinterprets a classic with flair and intelligence’ The Stage ★★★★

Read the full Stage review here 

‘It’s hard to believe they’ve [the young company] had no formal training…they move and amuse and thrill and they have an obvious rapport with the adult cast.’ Whatsonstage ★★★★★

‘high energy and huge versatility’ Whatsonstage ★★★★★

Read the full Whatsonstage review here 

‘this production delivers a powerful punch from start to finish’ Musical Theatre Review ★★★★★

‘As part of The Watermill’s Outreach programme, the three teams of children are drawn from the local community rather than stage schools, giving the scenes an unspoilt charm befitting the Oliver! orphans’ Musical Theatre Review ★★★★★

Read the full Musical Theatre Review here

‘The orchestrations and way in which music is used throughout the show is hugely impressive and highly effective.’ West End Frame

‘Fearn is sublime as Nancy’ West End Frame

‘Remarkably Sheppard has found a different direction to take the show in, and the sold out Monday night crowd certainly had the time of their lives.’ West End Frame

Read the full West End Frame review here 

'This small revival of Lionel Bart's 1960 musical masterpiece fires on all cylinders' The Mail on Sunday ★★★★

'Actors double up and play instruments, giving Luke Sheppard's production a party feel.' The Mail on Sunday ★★★★

Read the full Mail on Sunday review here 

‘As always at the Watermill, the expertise of the cast was demonstrated by the excellence of the music which was a real pleasure to listen to.’ Daily Info, Oxford

‘Cameron Blakely’s Fagin was delightfully wicked…’ Daily Info, Oxford

‘The ensemble numbers are thrilling…’ Jonathan Baz Reviews★★★★


‘If Lionel Bart is looking down upon the Watermill’s production, he’s surely smiling.’ Jonathan Baz Reviews★★★★

‘Paul Herbert’s new musical arrangements are spot on, and they are well tailored to the instrumental skills of the adult actors, who double as a first-class band.’ The Oxford Times 

'... a first class production of the rags to riches musical.’ A Younger Theatre 

‘a loveably entertaining production.’ A Younger Theatre

‘It buzzes with energy, talent and imagination.’ Henley Standard 

‘Tom Rogers’ set was a masterpiece’ Newbury Theatre

‘…you’d be mad not to see this feel good production. I want some more!’ Newbury Theatre  

‘Lionel Bart’s songs are an enduring delight, and we got some rousing ensemble numbers like Consider Yourself.’ Newbury Theatre

‘This is a wonderfully exuberant version of the story of an orphan boy's search for love, and the songs are as fresh as when they first hit the stage in 1960.’  Wiltshire Gazette & Herald


‘The Watermill always astounds with its musical theatre…’ Wiltshire Gazette & Herald 


‘a totally sweep-along, scintillating, enjoy-every-moment show’ Andover Advertiser

‘a crackerjack group of child actors…construct a gleeful partnership with the professional actors.’ Andover Advertiser
‘Watermill Theatre visits invariably fizz with expertise and friendliness…this production is no exception.’ Andover Advertiser