Russ Abbot, who is currently playing Fagin in the West End production of Oliver!, has confirmed he will be leaving the show before Christmas. Abbot, who took over the role from Griff Rhys Jones in June, was speaking last night (17 August 2010) on ITV1's The Michael Ball Show announcing that his last performance at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane will be Saturday 4 December. The role of Fagin has been played by a series of comedy and television stars since the show opened in January 2009. The show opened with Rowan Atkinson in the role, a part producer Cameron Mackintosh said he had been wanting Atkinson to play for 15 years. He was succeeded by fellow comic Omid Djalili from July 2009. Will Abbot's departure give enough time to install another big-name box office draw in the role before the Christmas holiday rush? Oliver is currently booking until 8 January 2011, with the Theatre Royal Drury Lane's next tennants Shrek the Musical previewing from May before opening 7 June 2011.