Some very greedy and selfish relatives are all after the failing old Martin Chuzzlewit's money. He is surrounded by all these sycophantic relatives that he truly despises whilst ill, each ... See full summary »
Based on Charles Dickens' novel, this adaptation traces the childhood of an orphan whose mother dies giving birth to him in an English work-house in the 1820s. Little Oliver Twist, already abused, starved and overworked, is apprenticed to an undertaker and runs away to London after being bullied by an older apprentice. There, he is taken in by Fagin, a fence and thief-trainer, and his gang of pickpockets. He is befriended by Nancy, a good-hearted prostitute, and meets her lover, the brutal housebreaker Bill Sikes. But attempts by the gang to discredit him result in his being taken in by Mr. Brownlow, a wealthy and charitable man, who proves the catalyst for Oliver's discovery of his background and identity. Here Alan Bleasdale's dramatisation differs from Dickens' novel, in that Oliver does not fall into Brownlow's hands by coincidence, and we already know his back story: he's the child of a young woman named Agnes Fleming and her married lover, Edwin Leeford, who dies while on a trip... Written by
Some have taken Alan Beasdale to task for rewriting some aspects of the original Dickens story, but I think it was all for the best. It may not match the original story, but taken completely on its own it is nonetheless very compelling and captures the essence of the original well enough while adding some nice new elements.
This is a top notch production in every respect... writing, direction, acting, music, sets, costumes, etc. Robert Lindsay as Fagin is astounding among an absolutely terrific cast, with Sam Smith playing just the right light note as Oliver and Marc Warren a dutifully creepy Monks.
I've seen the whole thing twice now and enjoyed it even more the second time, with the six hours of it seeming to fly by. 10 out of 10
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