This 1994 British studio cast recording of Lionel Bart's musical Oliver! features a strong cast led by character actor Victor Spinetti, who has a long series of West End credits and a Tony Award, but who remains best-known to American audiences for his supporting roles in the Beatles movies A Hard Day's Night and Help! Spinetti's Fagin is a good, detailed portrayal, and it's matched by Bonnie Langford's Nancy. The score, of course, remains tuneful, and the West End Concert Orchestra conducted by Matthew Freeman plays lively arrangements, even if the chorus often sounds a bit too properly British to be believable as a bunch of poverty-stricken boys. Originally recorded for the U.K. Carlton Shows Collection, this version was reissued as a low-priced disc available in the U.S. starting in the spring of 2001. It is not in the same league as the original London cast album, the original Broadway cast album, the original soundtrack, or the 1994 London revival cast album, but it is a pleasant enough recording, especially at a discount price.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann