LIONEL Bart’s smash-hit musical Oliver! is coming to the stage in Abingdon.

The show which broke box office records and picked up awards on both sides of the Atlantic is being brought to life by members of Abingdon Operatic Society.

Packed with well-known numbers, such as Food Glorious Food, Consider Yourself, I’d Do Anything and Pick A Pocket or Two, the society’s cast will be performing the show at the Amey Theatre, Abingdon School, Park Road, from Monday to Saturday, April 8 to 13, at 7.30pm, with an extra matinee show added to the usual six-night run.

Based on Charles Dickens’ second novel, Oliver Twist, the show tells the story of Oliver, who, after daring to ask for more to eat in the workhouse, is sold to an undertaker and his family.

Treated horribly, he escapes and is befriended by another young boy, the Artful Dodger, who takes him back to his home, an academy for orphans learning to be pickpockets under the eye of Fagin.

Making his debut with the society as Oliver is 14-year-old Joe Clinton, a pupil at St Birinus School, Didcot, with James White playing Dodger and Rob Bertwistle as Fagin. Directed by Edward Blagrove, the show has musical direction from John Nye and is choreographed by Natalie Biggs.

Jessica Joy Dancy plays Nancy, James Ramon-Baker takes the role of the villainous Bill Sikes, and Martin Mellor is Mr Brownlow.

The remainder of the cast is: Mr Bumble: Chris Biggs; Widow Corney: Lorna Stevenson; Mr Sowerberry: Ian Skeels; Mrs Sowerberry: Lynne Winter; Bet: Jenna Elliott; Mrs Bedwin: Jen Woodford; Noah Claypole: Alistair Ballard-Martin; Charlotte: Rebecca Peberdy; Old Sally: Wendy Lewis; Annie (old lady): Gemma Kitching; Dr Grimwig: Iain Launchbury; street sellers: rose seller: Debbie Wilde, milkmaid: Alice Aldous and strawberry seller: Charlotte Middlebrook.

Tickets are available in three ways — by downloading a PDF version of the booking form from the society’s website and sending it with your payment and a stamped addressed envelope to Abingdon Operatic Society, FREEPOST, Abingdon, OX14 4YG; booking online via the society’s website or by buying unnumbered balcony seats from the Newbury Building Society branch in West St Helen Street, Abingdon.

Discounts are available for groups with details available on the ticket inquiry line on 01235 834383 which is the same number to use if you require assistance for a person with a disability or requiring wheelchair access.

For your chance to win a pair of tickets for the show, simply send your name, address and telephone number (preferably mobile) in an email to: or send your details on a postcard or reverse of a sealed envelope to: Oliver! Competition, Herald Series, Promotions Department, Newsquest Oxfordshire, Osney Mead, Oxford, OX2 0EJ, by the contest’s closing date of Wednesday, March 27.