Michael Rosen’s Unexpected Twist at The Lowry

Kristy Stott, Theatre Editor
Image courtesy of Manual Harlan.

Michael Rosen's Unexpected Twist at The Lowry, Salford 2 — 7 May 2023 Tickets from £16.00 — Book now

A clever new version of a Dickensian classic comes to The Lowry this May. Unexpected Twist is a beatboxing musical retelling of the Charles Dickens classic, Oliver Twist, by celebrated children’s author, Michael Rosen.

Unexpected Twist is a musical mash-up for a modern audience.

Adapted for the stage by the BAFTA award-winning playwright Roy Williams, Rosen’s witty new version pulls many of Dickens’ original themes sharply into focus for a modern-day audience. This thought-provoking new version focuses on Shona, a young girl who lives in poverty with her struggling father. Shona has just moved to a new school and is trying to stay out of trouble. Finding her feet as the new kid, Shona and her chaotic classmates attempt to study Dickens’ book, Oliver Twist.

Unexpected Twist at The Lowry
Michael Rosen’s Unexpected Twist at The Lowry. Image courtesy of Manuel Harlan.

As Shona learns more about the famous novel, the real-life text of her life plays out. Finding it hard to stay out of trouble, our young protagonist battles to navigate her way through a dark underworld. A unique tale of gangland drama, stolen phones and money laundering unfurls as Shona’s contemporary narrative twists unexpectedly with Dickens’ 19th-century story of Oliver Twist. Perhaps most powerfully, Dickens’ central themes of child poverty and child exploitation are brought bang-up-to-date in this bold reimagining. Unexpected Twist is a musical mash-up for a modern audience.

Expect striking original music by rising R&B star Yaya Bey and BAC Beatbox Academy’s Conrad Murray.

Combining the vivid worlds of Oliver and Shona, this cutting-edge play boasts an incredible beatbox soundtrack. Expect striking original music by rising R&B star Yaya Bey and BAC Beatbox Academy’s Conrad Murray, who is also musical director. Blending a range of styles including beatbox and R&B, the super-talented cast of eleven deliver the show’s dramatic soundtrack using just their own voices.

Packing a powerful punch, Unexpected Twist stars 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.

Unexpected Twist at The Lowry
Michael Rosen’s Unexpected Twist at The Lowry. Image courtesy of Manuel Harlan.

This cutting-edge play boasts an incredible beatbox soundtrack.

Of the theatre adaptation, Rosen told us, “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.”

Recommended for ages 9+, Unexpected Twist is the perfect remix of a Dickensian classic for the whole family.

Michael Rosen's Unexpected Twist at The Lowry, Salford 2 — 7 May 2023 Tickets from £16.00 Book now

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