A spirited schoolboy is looking forward to commanding the audience with his performance of Oliver.

Henry Calcutt, from East Sheen, will take on the lead role in the much-loved musical after making it through the audition process.

The 12-year-old says: “I was really really excited when I found out I got the part. I have made good friends in the cast. There are 26 boys in the show including me and Dodger and a dog called Poppy.

“I think the hardest thing would probably be learning all the lines and knowing when to do what but I am really excited about the first show.”

Oliver presents the horrors of the workhouse, the criminal underbelly of London and is packed with catchy songs including You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two and Food Glorious Food.

Barnes and Richmond Operatic Society (Bros) present Lionel Bart’s musical in the same year as author Charles Dickens’ 200th birthday.

Bros Theatre Company puts on a variety of shows across south-west London and picks actors from a talented pool.

Director Andy Locke says: “Oliver is a boy with real spirit. Without this he would never have survived the deprivation of the workhouse, the ill-treatment of the Sowerberry’s and life on the street as one of Fagin’s gang.

“We saw this spirit in Henry and have been working on a slightly more feisty interpretation of the character than is sometimes portrayed.

“What has been really exciting about directing Oliver is that we have returned to Dickens’s original novel to discover a darker, grittier narrative than is often presented in Lionel Bart’s musical.

“We hope that what we have created adds an extra layer of excitement and dramatic tension whilst staying true to the iconic score.”

Oliver at Richmond Theatre, the Green, Richmond; From Tuesday, January 29, to Saturday, February 2. Various times. Tickets £12 to £23; Call 0844 8717651 or visit atgtickets.com/richmond.