Oliver! star Neil Morrissey brings Fagin to life on stage.

Mandy Rose, Press & PR Officer writes:

Last week I had the pleasure of a trip to Manchester Palace Theatre, taking along a member of the local media with me to see the matinee performance of Cameron Mackintosh’s Oliver! before it transfers to Birmingham next month.     

St Paul's Cathedral!

Although I have worked in theatre for over twenty years I never forget how priviledged I am to have access all areas to some of the best and most famous musicals in the world,  Oliver! included.  As soon as we arrived the company manager, Neil White, took us  backstage and straight onto the set.  Standing in the middle of the stage with the auditorium behind me the crew flew in some of the sets for us to see including the amazing St Paul’s Cathedral – which provides the backdrop for the Artful Dodger’s ‘Consider Yourself’ – (played at the matinee by Solihull born Max Greisbach – watch out for him!).     We then went into the wings to see all the costumes in the ‘Costume City’;  I spotted Mr Bumble’s coat, a big basket of red roses and a pot of gruel (yuk), with over 200 costumes in the show most of the cast don’t have time to go back to dressing rooms to change so a ‘Costume City’ is created in the wings to save time.   

After a few minutes looking round we were ushered into a very quaint dressing room immediately via the auditorium and there stood Neil Morrissey who plays Fagin!  You’ll probably know Neil from his ‘Men Behaving Badly’ days. Once in  I spotted Fagin’s hat, gloves, a  fantastic green coat and colourful waste jacket all hanging up!  We were in Neil’s dressing room for media interviews and the chance to watch him being made up to become pick pocket, Fagin (amazing that the character of Fagin, although a baddie can  be so liked by the British public).

Neil Morrissey pictured in his dressing room getting made up.

He tells me it takes  around 40 minutes before each performance to get into make-up, false beard, and wig  and I can see why.  Layer after layer of make-up is applied, with the beard itself having around five layers of hair.  But don’t take my word for it, CLICK HERE and watch the exclusive video filmed by my colleague, Ben Wooldridge of Neil’s full transformation!

You can catch Neil Morrissey as Fagin in Oliver! at Birmingham Hippodrome from 13 March-1 April, with Brian Conley in the role from 3-21 April.

Oh, and 2012 marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth, so  Happy Birthday Charlie!

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