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Dance company puts their own spin on Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist with show at Queen’s Theatre

PUBLISHED: 17:30 15 September 2017

Putting its own Twist on a classic tale, a dance company wants you to Consider Yourself welcome to see its latest show.

Avant Garde Dance will be making its way to Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch, for three nights only, to perform its interpretation of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, through the eyes of master pick-pocketer Fagin.

Artistic director and choreographer Tony Adigun said: “I like making adaptations of other shows that come from a different character’s perspective.

“When I thought about what we could do based on a character from Oliver Twist, I looked at Fagin and it blew my mind in seconds.

“He’s so complex, he is a criminal but he’s also this lovable rogue, so we’ve based this version on him and his youth and the way he was brought up.

“There’s still what I call the ‘hooks’, so the most memorable scenes from Oliver that people remember but with a difference.”

Despite the family-favourite musical responsible for songs such as Consider Yourself, As Long As He Needs Me and Where Is Love, being released almost 50 years ago, it still entertains and tugs on people’s heart strings today.

Oliver Twist is about an orphan who was born in a workhouse and then sold to an undertaker, who he escapes from to travel to London.

Here, he meets the Artful Dodger, a member of a gang of juvenile pickpockets led by the elderly criminal Fagin.

Oliver soon becomes a welcomed member of the gang but robber Bill Sikes causes both the orphan and Fagin a lot of trouble.

Fagin’s Twist is the untold story of a notorious and perhaps misunderstood villain.

Told through hip-hop, contemporary, street dance and krump, with nifty footwork, ducking and weaving, Avant Garde Dance has imagined what it was like for Fagin when he escaped from the workhouse in his search for riches on the streets.

Tony said: “It is mainly a dance show with text sprinkled throughout and performed by an amazing cast of eight.

“They have been and are still going through some challenges with the show with it primarily being told through dance and prop manipulation, so it’s not always easy but it’s something different.

“It can be hard telling a story with few words but it’s a challenge I wanted to take on and I’m proud of what we have created.”

Tony dreamt of becoming a choreographer from a very young age and never let go of that end goal.

“I loved both dancing and football when I was at primary school but knew I wanted to be a choreographer.

“My mum is quite strict so I stopped dancing when I was at secondary school but carried on when I left and at 19, I started working as a dancer commercially.

“I did enjoy it but I wanted to be more creative and have more of a say in the shows overall, like the costumes and the lighting.”

Tony set up Avant Garde Dance in 2001 and has since performed original shows throughout the UK at venues and festivals including The Place, Sadlers Wells, Pavilion Dance, The Barbican, DanceXchange and Latitude Festival.

They have also taken their shows around the world, to Europe, India and will be taking Fagin’s Twist on tour in China.

The show has been praised by the national media as well, with The Times describing it as a “daring, dynamic and hugely enjoyable rethink of a much loved Victorian tale” and the Evening Standard saying it is a “confident piece of dance theatre”.

Tony said: “We have put a lot of work into this show and I’m really proud of it.

“It’s a different take on Oliver!, a musical which so many people love so, I would urge people to come watch it and see our interpretation.”

Fagin’s Twist will be performed at Queen’s Theatre, Billet Lane, from September 21-23, with tickets priced at £14.

For more information visit queens-theatre.co.uk or avantgardedance.com

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