At the heart of our Classic Novels season, Act Two will present Oliver Twist as you’ve never seen him (or her) before.
This week, Act Two director Katie Turner talks to us about the company’s take on a Dicken’s classic, Twist!
Why did you choose this classic to adapt?
Building on the great success of last year’s Thames Tales at the Royal Albert Hall, this year Act Two is once again joining forces with Merton Music Foundation to produce a brand new version of Oliver Twist. 2019 marks the 60 year anniversary of the musical, Oliver!, which was first performed at New Wimbledon Theatre all those moons ago. We’ve decided to revamp the story and give Oliver a bit of a… ahem… twist to make him (or her!) the master of their own destiny
What’s going to be the most exciting thing about your version of this classic story?
How much we’re going to play with the characters: in the 21st century, we are no longer constrained by gender on stage and we plan to take full advantage of this!
And we will be encouraging our audiences to sing along as much as possible.
What stage are you at with the company in terms of writing and preparation?
The first few weeks of any rehearsal process are always the most exciting – we’re currently developing our ideas and experimenting with twisting the story. At this point all we are bound by is time, so we are jumping into exploring the different characters and how we inhabit the huge stage at New Wimbledon Theatre.
As we are working with our writer-in-residence, Andrew Alty, we’re making sure no stone is left unturned so that he can get all the juiciest bits of improvisation into the script.
Any big challenges ahead?
I think our biggest challenge is going to be deciding which material we keep and what we have to let go.
Dickens’ original story is rich and complex, and if we were to stage the whole thing, we would easily have a two-hour show on our hands. Instead we are picking out all the best bits, but deciding which those are will certainly be tricky!