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“Please, Sir”…Westminster’s outstanding Oliver! leaves audiences wanting “More!”

“Please, Sir”…Westminster’s outstanding Oliver! leaves audiences wanting “More!”

4 February 2022

The staging of Oliver!by Westminster pupils is acclaimed by parents and staff as a triumph of wit, cheer and memorable performances.

The cast of Oliver!, who performed Up School over three nights in February, was made up of pupils from all year groups and including Fifth Formers for the first time ever. They were following in the footsteps of major West End and Broadway performers, who have told Charles Dickens’ tale of Victorian London, written for stage by Lionel Bart, for more than half a century.

A fantastic work ethic by the whole cast and crew contributed to a memorable telling of this powerful story, with fine performances from all, notably Alexandre (Lower Shell, CC) in the title role of Oliver, Olivia (Sixth Form, MM) who played Nancy, Elias (Sixth Form, LL) as Dodger, and Lola (Remove, DD) as Fagin.

And as soon as the performances had finished, the tributes poured in, with positive reviews by parents and staff alike, praising the brilliant cast, the wonderful music and the spectacular set and costumes.

Susan Joyce, a Biology Teacher said: “I am in awe of our performers who delivered a professional and thoroughly enjoyable show – it is always so wonderful to see our students outside of the classroom and showing the other side of themselves. Oliver’s rendition of Where is Love? brought a tear to my eye, Nancy’s As Long as He Needs Me was breathtaking and our Fagin made it seem as if the role had always been intended for a female. It was really superb!”

Penelope Harley, a parent, remarked: “It was quite simply remarkable, staggeringly professional in every way. We loved every single minute and whooped and applauded whenever we could. As we emerge from these long pandemic years it was a particular gift to have such a reminder of what an utterly wonderful school community we are part of. It spoke volumes to see many members of staff involved in the event and also to see many others in the audience.”

Speaking after his three performances as Oliver, Alexandre said: “It was an amazing experience! Initially, I was invited to audition, but I was reluctant. Eventually, I was persuaded to take the role of Oliver and the reward of doing it is inexplicable despite the huge commitment that it was”. He went to add that that even though he has been involved in other plays and musicals in the past his experience in the lead role “was the most beautiful experience of my life. It really enabled me to grow as a person!”


Peter Chequer, Westminster’s Director of Drama added: “I was delighted with the opening performance of Oliver!. It has been an extraordinary time to put on a major production. The company, stage management and technicians have worked as a team and if anything, the challenges of Covid have united us. It is, therefore, a huge relief to have got the performances on stage to such a great reaction.”

The story of Oliver! which won a 1963 Tony Award for its catchy and upbeat musical score, doesn’t shy away from some of the difficult themes in Charles Dickens’ 1830s novel Oliver Twist. Dickens himself was well versed in the poverty of London at that time, and his appreciation of the hardships endured by impoverished citizens is evident in both his book and throughout the musical. Robert (Fifth Form, DD) reflected on the context in which Dickens’ book was written in the programme notes: “During Victoria’s reign, one in three of her English subjects were under 15. Many of these children were either orphans or destitute, and so workhouses were made, in theory, places where those less fortunate could have food and a roof over their heads. In reality they were used for profiteering, taking the money that the children had earned. Dickens knew exactly what it was like in a workhouse, as he was sent to one aged 12.”



“Please, Sir”…Westminster’s outstanding Oliver! leaves audiences wanting “More!”

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