RON MOODY AND BOY CHORUS
Vernon Harris (screenplay, based on the musical by Lionel Bart, loosely adapted from Charles Dickens), Carol Reed (director) Oliver / 1968
The dancing in Oliver, like that of The Music Man, is an example of the coming together of a talented chorus and a gifted choreographer, again Oona White. The almost frenetic dance number, "Consider Yourself," centered upon the youthful talents of Jack Wild playing The Artful Dodger, is something to be remembered in the dance world. But, for me, the far better piece is "You've Got to Pick a Pocket or Two," where the young boys, strutting in the awkward poses of White's choreography work together with the light-legged and quick moving Ron Moody as Fagin.
Perhaps, except for Wild, none of these are great dancers, but together their antics create a kind of comic mayhem that relates back to my comments on Groucho Marx, and Mark Lester's seemingly uninhibited laughter is one of the few times that Oliver, the character, comes alive.
Los Angeles, September 9, 2011