Brian Conley to play Fagin in Oliver!
The new Cameron Mackintosh production is stopping at Edinburgh's Playhouse
‘Cameron Mackintosh doesn’t do small,’ announces Brian Conley, his warm grin a lifetime away from the Fagin character he depicts in the Scots impressario’s successful revival of Oliver!. TV star Conley’s acclaimed turns in Jolson and Hairspray suggest a man with more than enough musical muster to match Mackintosh’s renowned theatrical magic, as Charles Dickens’ story of a mistreated workhouse orphan boy is reimagined, with a raft of unforgettable tunes from ‘Food Glorious Food’ and ‘Consider Yourself’ to ‘I’d Do Anything’.
‘He’s really created a spectacle,’ continues Conley. ‘From the huge musical numbers to some amazing special effects, not to mention the amazing young cast of Olivers and Dodgers going out every night … they’re just brilliant.’
Conley’s enthusiasm for the show, and his love of Lionel Bart’s original script, encouraged him to bring his own comedic flurries to the character of Fagin. ‘Cameron was very open to us being a bit playful and bringing our own little twists to the character – so with some of the big Fagin numbers, I added a little bit of colour here and there …’
Ultimately, says Conley, whether you love the Dickens’ classic or Bart’s musical retelling, there should be something here for everyone. ‘What’s so great is that the story is so recognisable to people, yet Cameron – and hopefully we as a cast – created something that still feels exciting and new. If people don’t leave the theatre singing, I’ll be disappointed.’
Playhouse, Edinburgh, Wed 30 May–Sat 23 Jun.