1964-66 : Oliver! : New Theatre, London
Donald Albery for Donmar Productions Limited
Director: Peter Coe
Book, Music and Lyrics: Lionel Bart, freely adapted from Dickens’ “Oliver Twist”
Designer: Sean Kenny
Lighting: John Wyckham
Orchestrations: Eric Rogers
Oliver! opened on June 30th 1960, with Georgia Brown playing Nancy, and Ron Moody creating the role of Fagin which he would later play so brilliantly in the 1968 film. The show went through several changes of cast in its long run of 2,618 performances.
Jack was in the show from late 1964 until spring 1966 (with time off during this period which was mandatory for child actors). By February 1965 Oliver was played by Jack’s elder brother Arthur Wild, and Phil Collins was Dodger. At the same time Aubrey Woods was Fagin, and Nicolette Roeg was Nancy
Jack played various small roles among the workhouse boys and Fagin’s gang, and the largest speaking part he had was Dodger’s sidekick Charlie Bates (Some sources mistakenly state that Jack played Dodger or even Oliver in the show). Jack finally left the show in 1966 to work on the film serial Danny the Dragon.
The New Theatre was renamed the Albery Theatre in 1973, and in 2006 became the Noel Coward Theatre.
In November 1965 Oliver! became the longest running musical to that date in Britain, beating the record of Salad Days (2,283 perfs) and Chu-Chin-Chow (2,282). At that point the show was on its 11th Oliver, its 10th Dodger, and its 4th Fagin and Nancy.
1978 : Big Sin City : U.K. Tour
(The original Big Sin City Company)
A Bill Kenwright Presentation
Directors: Bill Kenwright & Brian Peck
Book, Music and Lyrics: Neil, Lea & John Heather
Choreographer: Paul Hart
Design & Lighting: Graham Walne
Arrangements: John, Neil and Lea Heather
Associate Producer: Roderic H Coton
Cast Album Produced by Ed Welch
Musical Director & Piano: John Heather
Musicians: Barry Gibbon (synth), Keith Hayman (guitar), Mac Norman [Mac Roberts on the album] (bass), Steve Booker [‘Steve Boorer’ on the album and in some theatre programmes] (drums)
Cast in order of appearance: Jack Wild (Slic), Michael Price (Al), Ian Bartholomew [or Mike Fields] (Sargeant / Doc / Disco Kid), Peter Styles (Constable / Motion / Grunt), Myra Sands [or Ellie Smith] (Alice Grope / Heavy Leather), Linda Dobell (Victoria Grope / Mafioso), Lea Heather (Mike Spanner), Nicholas Chagrin (Ponzie / Shark), Jane West [or Debbie Armstrong] (Nobodies), Tim Myers (Mort Cadavos), Su Pollard (Big Louie), Deena Payne (Dolores).
A modern rock musical by the Heather brothers, featuring gang-fights and a doomed romance as a country boy searches for his lost love. Jack played Slic, a kind of street-wise narrator figure. There were various changes of cast during the run. Character names also vary on the original cast album and various theatre programmes: ‘Sargeant’ and ‘Constable’ appear to become ‘Starstruck’ and ‘Krutch’; ‘Shark’ becomes ‘Flasher’.
The show rehearsed from January 1978 and opened at the Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon, Surrey on February 13th 1978. The tour included weeks in Leeds, Darlington, Coventry and Wimbledon, and a few days at the Roundhouse in Camden, North London. There was a break in the tour before it started again later in the year. By that time Jack was making a series for the BBC, and did not rejoin the cast.
There was an original cast album, now a bit of a collector’s item, issued by Logo Records (Logo 1004). Jack’s main number in the show was ‘Everything Money Can Buy’
1982 : A Christmas Carol : U.K. Tour
Philip Bernard Productions
Staging and Lighting Design by Stewart Suthurst
Designed by Graham Brown
Adapted and Directed by Bryan Johnson
Bryan Johnson (Scrooge), Jack Wild (Bob Cratchit / Dick Wilkins), Brian Weston (Young Scrooge / Fred), Alex Ward (Marley / Ghost of Christmas Present), Dave Peters (Fezziwig / Old Joe), Renee Bourne-Webb (Ghost of Christmas Past / Fred’s Wife), Zena Daire-Walker (Mrs Cratchit / Belle), Laura Nayman (Mrs Fezziwig / Mrs Dilber), other roles (including Tiny Tim) played by a different team of local children at each venue.
This winter tour was Jack’s final brush with Dickens, after Oliver! and Our Mutual Friend.
1990-91 : Captain Beaky and his Band in Heaven’s Up : Playhouse Theatre, London
29th November 1990 to 12th January 1991
Presented by Greenleaf Entertainments
Director: Wendy Toye
Writer: Jeremy Lloyd
Music: Jim Parker
Designer: Caire Lyth
Lighting: Brian Harris
Musical Director: Anthony Ingle
Patrick Cargill (Artful Owl), Jack Wild (Reckless Rat), Mike Berry (Captain Beaky), Nigel Leach (Hissing Sid), Jenny Galloway (Timid Toad), Marsha Bland (Bat), David Kelsey (Serpent / Badger)
A family musical which brought Jack back to the West End. His contract for this meant he missed out on some scenes in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves when shooting on the movie overran.
Garth Harrison for Stage Further Productions on behalf of Cresset Leisure Services
(adapted by John Kane from the MGM motion picture)
Director: Brian Howard
Choreographer: Samantha Lindsay
Designer: David Benson
Costumes: Carousel Costumes
Sophie Lawrence (Dorothy), Jack Wild (Zeke / Cowardly Lion), Gordon Davidson (Uncle Henry / Guardian of Oz), Keith Charles (Hunk / Scarecrow), John Witts (Hickory / Tin Man), David Medina (Professor Marvel / The Wizard), Sandra Hunt (Aunt Em / Glynda), Robert Laughlin (Miss Gulch / Wicked Witch), Basil (Toto), Susanna Driscoll, Julian Mills, Lisa Brackenbury, Espen Nowacki, Emma Hill, Michael Laidler, Michelle Carter, Emile Armstong (Citizens, Bodyguards & Farmhands).
1999 : Virus : Theatre Royal, Nottingham
March 10th-20th 1999
in association with Nottingham Theatre Royal and Churchill Theatre Bromley
Adaptor, Co-Producer & Director: Peter Everett
Book & Co-Producer: Tayla Goodman
Music: The Slip
Choreographer: Helen O’Dwyer
Musical Director: Gaz Bedford
Claire Harding (Diskette), Jack Wild (Mouse), Colin Bower (Data/Wordage), Alistair Everett (Softy/Doors), Nyron ([singing] Doors), Tayla Goodman (DD), Tony Goodman (Virus/FM), Mark Hedges (HD), Kellie Grace, Elizabeth Haslam, Louise Hibbert, Clare Holmes, Nicholas Jocia, Hayley Reed, Terry M Shaw, Graham Wadsworth, Jason Webb (dancers).
Claire was originally hired as one of the dancers and to understudy Samantha Fox as Diskette, eventually replacing her due to illness.
The musical, inspired by the ‘Millennium Bug’, was booked to tour after its opening weeks, but financial problems led to the cancellation of the show after Nottingham.
2002 : The Lavender Hill Mob : U.K. Tour
March – July 2002
Charles Vance Productions
Director: Clive Francis
Adapted by Clive Francis, Brian Levenson and Paul Minett
Producer: Charles Vance
Clive Francis (Holland), Victor Spinetti (Pendlebury), Jack Wild (Shorty), Michael Melia (Lackery Smith), Claire Harding (Mrs Fazackerly / Madame Gascoigne)
This tour of the stage version of the classic Ealing Studios comedy was a highlight for Jack and Claire, working together alongside Clive Francis, Victor Spinetti and Michael Melia. In the original 1951 film, the role of Shorty was played by Alfie Bass, who Jack had worked with at the BBC in Our Mutual Friend. Director and adaptor Clive Francis later developed a part for Jack in a production of Three Men in a Boat, but Jack died before this could happen.
2004-5 : Cinderella : Swan Theatre, Worcester
10th December 2004 to 1st January 2005
(Chris Vincent, Ann Mayor, Daniel Whitley, Paul Tate and Jack)
Producer, Writer & Director: Paul Tate
Assistant Director: Chris Jaeger
Choreographers: Heather Ingram & Heidi Wilson
Additional Choreography: Paul Tate
Musical Director: Rick Godsall
Jack Wild (Baron Hardup), Liz Grand (Fairy Godmother), Paul Tate (Trinny), Chris Vincent (Susannah), Sarah-Jane Bourne (Cinderella), Claire Harding (Prince Charming), Daniel Whitley (Buttons), Jackie Bevan (Dandini), Ann Mayor (Buttercup), Edward Stokoe (Major-Domo)
Jack and Claire had already signed up for this show when Jack had to have the major operation in July 2004 to combat his oral cancer. Despite being unable to speak, Jack fulfilled his commitment and the show was re-written so that Baron Hardup was constantly interrupted by other characters before he could say anything. Jack’s determination paid off and he completed the run, although afterwards his cancer returned and this proved to be his last stage role. His final performance was on New Year’s Day, 2005.