William Miller as Oliver Twist
This bold and gripping adaptation breathes new life into this much-loved Dickens story about the young orphan Oliver who is sent to the workhouse, where children are raised on a diet of hard work and thin gruel. But as everyone knows, the story doesn’t end there.
With a modern edge that sets it apart from previous adaptations (a “bold, modern, sleek, dramatic exaggeration” raved the Guardian), Oliver Twist ’s spectacular cast is led by newcomer William Miller as Oliver—orphaned in the countryside, sent to the workhouse, sold into servitude after his immortal appeal, “Please, sir, I want some more,” apprenticed to a sadistic coffin maker, and then driven to flee for his life to the only safe haven he can imagine: the den of delinquents, prostitutes, and murderers known as London.
Dickens is known for his comically quirky characters, and among the most Dickensian are Mr. Bumble (Gregor Fisher, Love Actually) and Mrs. Corney (Sarah Lancashire, Wuthering Heights). One is the officious beadle, who banishes Oliver from the workhouse. The other is the conniving workhouse matron, who sees her main chance in the bachelor Bumble and a secret item of interest to Monks. Bumble and Mrs. Corney are a match made in heaven—or in the other place, as events prove.
Add to that Oliver Twist’s complicating factors—functionaries who act criminally, criminals who behave responsibly, children who behave like adults, not to mention lots of biting social commentary about society’s treatment of the poor—and Dickens’ true genius as a storyteller emerges.