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Unexpected Twist


Unexpected Twist. Michael Rosen’s re-telling of Dicken’s classic tale, adapted for the stage by Roy Williams. The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry. 11 – 15 April. Suitable for age 8+

Preview by Arabella Neville-Rolfe.


Unexpected Twist is a re-telling of the Charles Dickens classic, Oliver Twist, by one the best-loved figures in the children’s book world, Michael Rosen. Adapted for the stage by BAFTA award-winning playwright Roy Williams (Soul, Sucker Punch), directed by James Dacre, with original music by rising R&B star Yaya Bey and BAC Beatbox Academy’s Conrad Murray, also musical director,


Shona and her class are studying the book, Oliver Twist. She’s the new girl in school and is finding it hard to stay out of trouble – much like Oliver himself! When she’s given a new phone by a stranger, she begins to suspect there’s something unusual about the new boys she’s met.


Michel Rosen is the English children’s novelist, poet, and the author of 140 books. He served as Children’s Laureate from June 2007 to June 2009. He has been a TV presenter and a political columnist, and his books include Carrying the Elephant: A Memoir of Love and Loss and Uncle Billy Being Silly.



This new play with music, will star Kate Donnachie (Aladdin) as Desree, Alex Hardie (Frankenstein: How To Make A Monster) as Gazz, Rosie Hilal (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) as Miss Cavani, Drew Hylton (Annie) as Shona, Nadine Rose Johnson (Frankenstein: How To Make A Monster) as Rosie, Polly Lister (The Worst Witch) as Nan/Lorraine, Alexander Lobo Moreno (GrimeBoy) as Tino, James Meteyard (Coriolanus) as Pops, Liyah Summers (Our Lady Of Kibeho) as Rasheda, and Thomas Vernal (The Book of Mormon) as Dad.


Michael Rosen said: “I have always been a huge lover of theatre and the dramatic arts. I believe in the power and value of live performance and rate it as an equal to all the other literary activities. I can't describe what a thrill it is for me to know Unexpected Twist is going to be a play. I've already seen a draft script and it leapt off the page. I could immediately 'see' it as being a funny, tough, edgy, contemporary, powerful show. I am desperate to see it.”


Unexpected Twist has design by Frankie Bradshaw (Two Trains Running) and choreography by Olivier Award-winning Arielle Smith (Jolly Folly), lighting design by Rory Beaton (Death Drop, For Black Boys), sound design by Leigh Davies (The Worst Witch) with casting by Annelie Powell CDG.


The creative team also includes Sarah Stacey (Associate Director), Gurkiran Kaur (Voice Coach) and Kate Waters (Fight Director). Production Management is by Martin Thompson (Northampton) and Ben Arkell (Tour) with Lisa Lewis (Company Stage Manager – Northampton), Neil Bull (Company Stage Manager – Tour), Karen Habens (Deputy Stage Manager), Sara-Jayne Smith (Assistant Stage Manager), Charles Parry (Sound No 1) and Molly English (Head of Wardrobe) completing the team.


Unexpected Twist is a thrilling new production from The Children’s Theatre Partnership and Royal & Derngate, Northampton; the producing partnership behind Holes and The Jungle Book.


Details and tickets available from: https://www.belgrade.co.uk/events/unexpected-twist/

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