When I think Oliver Twist (the book), the first words which come to mind are “bleak” and “poverty.” Not exactly making it soar high up of my ‘to read again’ list. I have some faded memories of the 1968 Oscar-winning film and the characters in it. Oh yes, the songs – the songs were good (remember “You’ve Got To Pick A Pocket Or Two” and “Consider Yourself”)? So I was intrigued when I heard that a contemporary hip-hop dance company had re-imagined it from miserly villain Fagin’s point of view.
Fagin’s Twist flips your expectations of the five main characters
The Avant Garde Dance Company (led by Artistic Director Tony Adigun) have created Fagin’s Twist, which features the five main characters (Oliver, The Artful Dodger, Bill Sykes, Nancy and of course, Fagin) and three ensemble dancers who play a variety of roles. The paths of the characters’ lives and their circumstances have been drastically altered. The story focusses on the troubled youth of Fagin and his co-villian Bill Sykes (which unsurprisingly is similar to Oliver’s). Oliver is set to inherit their criminal enterprise – will he be able to break out of the cycle of crime? I doubt we can expect a fairytale ending. The mantra of the Company is to “innovate, not replicate” – hence why a female dancer has been cast as Oliver and the idea that Fagin is basically evil and enslaving young boys is challenged (he has to have a heart in there somewhere).
The show received critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe – expect dynamic duets and innovative group choreography. Artistic Director Tony Adigun says “I have always been excited by the idea of retelling a popular tale. I wanted to add a mischievous twist that would play with, and challenge audiences’ perspectives of a much loved classic.”
The dynamic group dance
Fagin’s Twist is at Northern Stage on Tuesday 30th and Wednesday 31st October. Tickets are from £10. Book here
Running time – 1 hour 45 mins including 20 minute interval Recommended age – 8+
★★★★ THE TIMES, Debra Craine “Fagin’s Twist, is a daring, dynamic and hugely enjoyable rethink of a much loved Victorian tale.”
Fagin’s Twist is commissioned by Theatre Bristol, East London Dance, Pavilion Dance South West, Dance East and The Place, and co-produced by The Place. Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
When I heard about an improvised panto, I knew I had to check it out. It’s the 10th anniversary of…
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