It’s a very clever piece of work, staged with extraordinary panache by Luke Sheppard"
"an utterly huggable and thrillingly exuberant celebration... a brilliantly enjoyable night that lights up London theatre"
Lynne Gardner, The Guardian
“In Luke Sheppard’s production the show is fresh, vibrant and exuberant”
Sam Marlowe, The Times
"Luke Sheppard’s production, which originated at Southwark Playhouse, has soul as well as plenty of sizzle."
Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard
‘This musical makes a spectacular London debut at Southwark Playhouse in Luke Sheppard’s soulful, slinky-hipped production.’
"Director Luke Sheppard has teased wonderfully subtle performances from his entire cast
Jo Caird, Whats On Stage
"a smart, superbly funny take on queer politics"
David Clack, Time Out
"alternately witty and gritty, warm-hearted and tough... Luke Sheppard’s loving, detailed production cleverly avoids caricature to capture the comfort as well as battles (both internal and with each other) they are facing and fighting, and is played with a proud determination by a fine ensemble cast"
★★★★ Mark Shenton, The Stage
OLIVER! - Watermill Theatre
"Bart's glorious musical works wonderfully in the intimate wood-panelled space of the Watermill.... with a split-level set, which director Luke Sheppard's wonderful troupe of eleven actor/musicians use to full advantage to generate enormous energy and excitement. It's probably no coincidence that they are perfectly matched, in numbers as in verve, by three alternating troupes, each of eleven young actors, drawn from the local community. It's hard to believe they've had no formal training, for from the moment they file on stage bearing their workhouse tables, they move and amuse and thrill and they have an obvious rapport with the adult cast."
★★★★★ - Whats On Stage
"Directed by the astute and ingenious Luke Sheppard... this production delivers a powerful punch from... Once again the limitations of the Watermill’s setting are pushed to their full potential with an expertly designed set and the enchanting outside space being put to good use. Could this be the next national tour or West End transfer for this inspirational production house?"
★★★★★ - Musical Theatre Review
"In the past, Oliver! has been produced on a grand scale, but here the piece is laid bare in the tiny confines of the Watermill and the results are often stunning... A company of highly talented actor/musicians not only double up on roles, but also provide a drama-enhancing soundtrack... Within a string of outstanding performances, Alice Fearn (as Nancy) and Cameron Blakely (as Fagin) give mini masterclasses in acting through song... Sheppard and his colleagues create the perfect atmosphere, completely immersing the audience in compelling drama and song."
★★★★ - The Stage
"Lionel Bart's masterpiece fires on all cylinders... Actors double up and play instruments, giving Luke Sheppard's production a party feel... It's small in scale but big of heart, and Oliver's (finally rewarded) each for love leaves a lump in the throat"
★★★★ - Mail on Sunday
"Remarkably Sheppard has found a different direction to take the show in, and the sold out Monday night crowd certainly had the time of their lives."
★★★★ - West End Frame
"Glorious, high-spirited and full of gumption, Luke Sheppard’s Oliver! at the Watermill Theatre, Newbury is a first class production of the rags to riches musical. "
A Younger Theatre
"What a show! ...the direction and choreography can leave you breathless, especially in the confined space of the theatre... The Watermill has been doing this kind of musical on a grander and grander scale for over 20 years. this must be its pinnacle with a three troupes of orphans being employed across the run as well as a strong cast of actor/dancer/musicians."
"If director Luke Sheppard faced challenges in scaling Oliver! down, it certainly doesn’t show... this is a terrific production – fizzy and thoroughly entertaining, but never sugar coating the dark theme of child exploitation that lies at the heart of Dickens’s original book."
The Oxford Times
THE SECRET DIARY OF ADRIAN MOLE AGED 13 3/4 - Curve
"this all-singing, all-dancing Mole comes up trumps; in fact, it’s so good it could burrow its way to the West End... the evening, delivered by a tireless company of just 10, does that rare thing: it makes you laugh, tugs at your heart-strings and honours the spirit of the original while being playfully inventive... this fresh, funny, stirring spin on a Thatcher-era classic may be around for a long time to come."
★★★★ - Dominic Cavendish, THE TELEGRAPH
"it’s no small achievement to make this first musical version such a lively, evocative pleasure... amusing and affecting enough to leave you glowing... a thoroughly charming evening: faithful to the book but with a tenderness of its own."
★★★★- Dominic Maxwell, THE TIMES
"a home-grown hit for the Curve... a show constantly paying neat homage to previous British musicals and the traditions of the TV sitcom, and yet always staying distinctive and true to its source material, in a deceptively simple staging by Luke Sheppard... a quaint, unassuming little charmer."
★★★★ - Lyn Gardner, THE GUARDIAN