Review: Fagin’s Twist @Northern Stage

Image Credit: Fagin_s Twist – Credit Rachel Cherry 1.jpg 

It’s not even December yet and the Charles Dickens stories are already out on stage. Except this isn’t your classic story, oh no this Oliver really does have a twist in his tale.

Avant Garde Dance Company tells the story of Fagin and Bill Sykes right from where they met to how we know them in the musical. The duo is fed up of working for the man Fagin dreams of a golden pocket watch and a top hat meanwhile Sykes dreams of a family and a wife.

They will do anything to grasp that dream until they come across the Artful Dodger and eventually Oliver. Then the dream doesn’t exactly fall into place and the young, innocent Oliver that we know isn’t all he cracked up to be.

Tony Adigun fuses together hip-hop and contemporary dance to create a piece that allows us to see Oliver in a very different light.  The show tricks us with the costume and music,  luring us in with the Victorian costumes that we expect to see in Oliver yet the music is edgy and modern- a complete juxtaposition to what I thought I was going to see.  Sitting in my chair I could feel the vibration of the music coming through my seat, it was an intense experience.

This particular dance required the dancers to act, not just through their facial expressions and their bodies but through speech. The classic characters that we know including Oliver and Nancy all had spoken word to move the story along. There were a few references to the musical such as Food Glorious Food and I enjoyed Dodger acting as a narrator and engaging with the audience to make sure we were following.

The movements in Fagin’s Twist were both fluid and staccato, dancers would be throwing themselves around the stage and then performing slow and beautiful gestural movements. The energy that was being executed through the movements was impressive.

The dancers were expressive and embodied their characters and even when they weren’t playing a specific character- they were still emoting through the dance. Every movement was simply effortless throughout the piece, we would see dancers jump, bound and leap off the set and fall into intricate spaces making it look easy but clearly requiring technique and skill.

Through my experience of reviewing, I don’t think I have seen a dance piece like that ever before.  And I am excited to see what comes next from Avant Garde Dance Company.

To find out where Fagin’s Twist is touring to you next click here 


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