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30th April 2023

The Lowry gets it twisted

The stage adaptation of Michael Rosen’s Unexpected Twist, itself a reimagining of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, comes to The Lowry as part of its UK tour
The Lowry gets it twisted
Photo: Unexpected Twist

Oliver Twist is one of the most iconic stories of all time. We all know what happens – though, come to think of it, I don’t recall how it ends. If I’m being honest, I always found it a little boring. I often struggle to connect with art that is so old and dated – even though many themes Charles Dickens’ explored remain relevant, including the poverty in Oliver Twist.

Children’s author Michael Rosen acknowledged the dated yet relevant paradox of Oliver Twist so he decided to reimagine the story as Unexpected Twist – An Oliver Twisted Tale. Now, Unexpected Twist has recently come to life, touring theatres up and down the country, with a stop off at The Lowry in Salford – a city that has long tackled poverty.

Unexpected Twist combines two stories in one: Rosen’s story and the Dickens classic that inspired it. Two stories that twist together, unexpectedly!

Shona and her class are studying the book, Oliver Twist. She’s the new girl in school and is finding it hard to stay out of trouble – much like Oliver himself! When she’s given a new phone by a stranger, she begins to suspect there’s something unusual about the new boys she’s met.

Michael Rosen is the English children’s novelist, poet, and the author of 140 books, including Carrying the Elephant: A Memoir of Love and Loss and Uncle Billy Being Silly. He served as Children’s Laureate from June 2007 to June 2009. He has been a TV presenter and a political columnist.

This thrilling production is brought to vivid life by The Children’s Theatre Partnership. Directed by James Dacre (2020 Olivier Award nominated Our Lady of Kibeho), Rosen’s novel is adapted for the stage by BAFTA Award-winning playwright Roy Williams. with original music by rising R&B star Yaya Bey and BAC Beatbox Academy’s Conrad Murray.

This entertaining reimagining of a Dickens classic will have you asking, “Can I have some more?”


Unexpected Twist – An Oliver Twisted Tale runs at The Lowry (Lyric Theatre) from May 2 until 7 and currently tours the UK until early June, with more dates to be announced.

Jay Darcy

Jay Darcy

Theatre Editor. Instagram & Twitter: @jaydarcy7. Email: [email protected].

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