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REVIEW - MICHAEL ROSEN'S UNEXPECTED TWIST | THE LOWRY | 02/05/2023


unexpected twist artwork


Unexpected twist is a modern interpretation of the Charles Dickens classic Oliver Twist, the book which the show is based on was written by Michael Rosen and has been adapted for the stage by Ray Williams and is directed by James Dacre.

unexpected twist production shots

The show tells the story of a young girl named Shona (Drew Hylton) who is being brought up by her widowed father (Thomas Vernal). Her father has been struggling financially ever since Shona's mother died and due to their money struggles they are forced to move to a smaller flat which means Shona must move to a new school. At Shona's new school her class are reading Oliver Twist and as we go on we discover that Shona's own life seams to mimic that of Oliver Twists. At School Shonna gets offered a new phone by a class mate and this is what draws her in and she is soon embroiled in a criminal gang. Shona eventually realises with the help of her teacher (Rosie Hilal) that she is in over her head and needs to get out.


unexpected twist production shots

The show features original music by Yaya Bey & BAC Beatbox academy's Conrad Murray and it is fantastic, no instruments or backing tracks are used and all sounds heard were performed live by the cast, who showed off some amazing beat boxing skills. Some of my favourite songs from the show are "Why am I here" and "This Is Who I Am"


unexpected twist production shots

The set was simple with what looked like walls full of school lockers. The set stayed the same throughout the show with props such as school desks and chairs being brought on when needed. the set was on 2 levels and often when the modern day characters were reading Oliver Twist the characters would appear above them on the second level.


unexpected twist production shots

I thought the entire cast were excellent and very talented but it was Drew Hylton who was the stand out performer for me, she has a stunning voice and delivered beautiful vocals. I thought her portrayal of Shona was excellent she was able to show us not only Shona's tough side but also her more vulnerable side too.


I thought this musical was quite unique in its approach to the music it used to tell the story and I really enjoyed the fact that it was something I hadn't seen before in a musical. I really enjoyed the show and I think it is a great musical that all the family could enjoy, I gave Unexpected twist 4 stars and you should definitely try to catch it whilst its on tour.



If you would like more information about the play and see where it will be touring to please click the button below.





Photo Credit - Manuel Harlan


*Our tickets for this show were kindly gifted in exchange for an honest review




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