Hayley relishes chance to go from Wicked witch to bad girl

Sheffield Theatre's Production of Oliver!
Sheffield Theatre's Production of Oliver!
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Young actress Hayley Gallivan has gone from being a Wicked lady to a bad girl in a few short weeks.

Hayley was the stand-in for the role of the witch Ephaba in the hit musical Wicked in the West End and now she is playing Nancy in Oliver! at the Crucible in Sheffield.

She said: “I have finished Wicked, I did my last show on the Saturday, travelled up on the Sunday and started rehearsals on the Monday, so it has been quite a transition.”

That transition involved getting to know the character of Nancy, the member of Fagin’s gang and doomed lover of villain Bill Sikes.

Hayley said: “We have discussed at length what makes Nancy the way she is, I mean living in these unhealthy conditions, a grimy and grotty environment with this horrible husband and also Fagin and it’s not a very nice time or place to be, yet she is this positive person. I think she has accepted her lot and not expected more but she wants to make the most of it and enjoy it.

“She is very much a realist in that respect and it’s what has been a joy to discover, how she goes from being the life and soul of the party, singing Oom Pah Pah, and as soon as Bill comes on it’s As Long as He Needs Me. She gets transitions between extremes and it’s just a joy. People wonder why she doesn’t leave Bill but I don’t think she has known anything else. She has probably known him since she was a child and her love is so deep rooted that, while she sings As Long as He Needs Me, she needs him. Without each other they wouldn’t function. I mean, almost immediately after she is killed, he dies.”

The adaptation of Charles Dickens’ famous novel Oliver Twist certainly isn’t the usual upbeat festive fare, something that director Daniel Evans and the cast aren’t shying away from.

Hayley said: “It’s going to be a lot darker than the usual Christmas show because it is dark. Nancy gets beaten to death, there’s no way of making that nice, but at the same time you’ve got those moments like Oom Pah Pah and Who Will Buy and Consider Yourself, you do have those songs which are upbeat.”

She added: “I think it’s going to be a real rollercoaster.”

Hayley is here on her first visit to Sheffield, having missed out on performing in the city on tour with Fiddler on the Roof. She said: “Now I’m here I’m loving it. Everyone seems more relaxed here.”

Oliver! is at the Crucible Theatre until January 25.

Box office: at the venue, go online to www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk or call 0114 2496000.