Reviewing The Situation Returns To Hayes Theatre

Rebecca Varidel
10th Nov 2015

The intimate musical entertainment at the Hayes Theatre always sells out fast. In fact, the last few shows have not only sold out fast, but some of the seasons have sold out before opening night. So, it's always wise to book quickly. It's also meant that some of the shows from this year have been thankfully booked for return seasons.

One of them is Reviewing The Situation which celebrates the life of composer and lyricist Lionel Bart, who wrote the long running musical Oliver! and other hit shows, pop songs for the likes of Cliff Richard, and theme songs for movies including the James Bond film From Russia With Love.

Lionel Bart was an East End Cockney from a poor Jewish family. At the height of his success, he owned a huge home, the "Fun Palace" in Chelsea where he held fabulous parties. Success didn't last. Alcohol, changing times and a tendency to waste his money saw him declared bankrupt. To settle debts he sold the rights to Oliver! and watched helplessly as others made fortunes from it.

Lionel ended up living in poverty, in a cramped flat above a laundrette, which is where Reviewing the Situation takes place. But like many who lived through the Blitz (the subject of one of his hit shows), Lionel kept smiling. Cameron Mackintosh called him "the least bitter man I have ever met". In the closet for most of his life, Lionel came out in the 1990s. His friends included Judy Garland, Noel Coward, Keith Moon and Barry Humphries, who Lionel cast as the undertaker in the very first production of Oliver!

Well known cabaret artist Phil Scott teamed up with director Terence O'Connell to create this show which opened at Hayes Theatre Co in June, then played to packed houses at the Adelaide and Melbourne Cabaret Festivals. Produced by Tekule in conjunction with Hayes Theatre Co., Reviewing The Situation returns for five performances only from February 4th 2016.