FOR two nights only, Avant Garde came to The Lowry Theatre to tell the untold story of a rather famous villain, Fagin. Quays News entertainment reporter Molly Jacobsen-Hunt was lucky enough to be there on Friday evening (May 20) for us…

Fagin’s Twist is the untold story of the villain that we could call the most difficult, tarnished and miscalculated.

Through the medium of imaginative dance and a journey in hip-hop, Tony Adigun’s Avant Garde Dance flips audience expectations of five familiar faces with their unmatched choreography through contemporary hip-hop.

The story imagines the untold childhood of Fagin, corrupted by selfishness and consumed by poverty. Forced to live on the uncomfortable streets and no easy redemption, there is no fairy tale ending for the young boy.

Walking into a dark and gloomy theatre, the scene was set from the off. With dark staging and one single spotlight on Fagin (Joshua James Smith), the crowd were taken back in time to a worse era.

Eventhough the set was simple, it was used well throughout the production. The moveable set was used as anything from the workhouse, where we are first introduced to our main characters, to bunkbeds.

The audience couldn’t help but feel sorry for Fagin in the beginning, when he first joined the work place it was clear to see that Bill Sykes (Dani Harris-Walters) was not interested in being involved with this young boy.

With them planning to escape the workplace together,  joy runs over viewers as we watch the two go through their own journey and become great friends.

All dancers throughout the play did not seem to be a step out of place with the music and everyone else around them. The creativity of the piece blew all the audience away, some young boys even thinking it was ‘weirdly wonderful’.

All of the cast were incredible in what they did, being able to tell such a strong, unknown story through dance and minimal talking is notoriously difficult to pull off.

The Artful Dodger, played by Aaron Nuttall, was there, however, to break the fourth wall and narrate the story for those who were lost through using dance and mancunian swagger.

Having Oliver played by a female (Jemima Brown) confused many but her small frame and high-pitched voice worked well with what Dodger was telling us. That being said she didn’t embody the vulnerability and innocence of Oliver in the original tale.

Difficulties were faced through the performance as Artful’s microphone broke during one of his monologues. However, the dancer ignored this technical hitch and was still able to project his voice to the back of the room.

It was also sometimes hard to hear the commentary because of the music playing so loud in the background, which sadly took away from the performance just a little bit.

Tony Adigun says: “old and new runs through the piece…I love playing with history to bring it into the here and now” and that’s certainly what he was able to do with this show.

With the new style of contemporary hip-hop, he was able to take The Lowry crowd back in time and into the untold tale of the musical many grew up with.

This production, whilst appealing to dancers at all levels, had a sinister atmosphere created by all the dancers and that could be terrifying to watch for those of a younger age.

By Molly Jacobsen-Hunt

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