Oliver! is not merely unfaithful to Dickens but completely inappropriate as well. First of all, Lionel Bart seems to belong to that Broadway-West End school of thought that believes a musical can be made of anything from The Decameron to Das Kapital… Bart sentimentalizes the grime and crime with his ludicrous lyrics. Worse still, the group numbers of lower-class Londoners destroy the Dickensian literary heritage of individuality and grotesque contrast.
January 09, 1969