Comedian Omid Djalili is to follow Rowan Atkinson as Fagin in the current Oliver! revival in the West End.

The stand-up and actor will replace the Mr Bean star from July 20th and is set for a six-month run at the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane, London.

Jodie Prenger, the winner of BBC1 talent show I'd Do Anything, will continue as Nancy.

"Oliver! has been a success beyond my wildest dreams and I'm thrilled that Rowan Atkinson has had such a tremendous triumph in a role I always thought he was born to play," said producer Cameron Mackintosh.

"The only way to follow such a unique performance is with a talent just as unique yet entirely different. No one could fulfil this criteria better than Omid Djalili.

"It is his ability to inhabit his characters with such comic energy and wily cunning that will make his Fagin his own.”

He added: "Undoubtedly the first Iranian ever to portray Dickens' legendary Jewish creation, we all look forward to him becoming part of the family next July."

Oliver! opened with £15 million of advance sales last month - the highest ever in the West End - and is currently booking until February 2010.


12/02/2009 09:29:32