Comedy appears to be a key factor in casting the role of Fagin in Cameron Mackintosh’s multi-million pound production of Oliver! at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

First Rowan Atkinson was cast in the lead role when the show opened at the Theatre Royal in January this year, followed by current Fagin, Iranian comedian Omid Djalili. And now the producers have announced that TV and stage star Griff Rhys Jones has landed the part of Dickens’ greatest villain.

Griff shot to fame in the late seventies on satirical TV show Not The Nine O’Clock News alongside Rowan Atkinson. No stranger to theatre, he has won Laurence Olivier best comedy awards for his performances in Charley’s Aunt and An Absolute Turkey and has enjoyed great success on stage and TV.

Producer of Oliver! Cameron Mackintosh said, “I’ve wanted to work with Griff for years so I’m delighted that the marvellous role of Fagin has tempted him back to the stage this Christmas. Griff is an actor with an amazing array of successful talents, all of which will undoubtedly be poured into his unique and entertaining interpretation of one of Dickens’ most famous and beloved creations. I can’t wait!”

Griff joins the cast of the Rupert Goold directed show alongside BBC “I’d Do Anything” winner Jodie Prenger, as Nancy and performs from 14 December until June 2010.

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