Become a Member
(L-R) Drew Hylton, Rosie Hilal, James Meteyard, Liyah Summers, Polly Lister - Unexpected Twist - Photo Credit Manuel Harlan

Michael Rosen’s Unexpected Twist, 'a musical mash up of Dickens and beat box' comes to The Lowry in May

‘First Look’ production images have been released for the new production of Michael Rosen’s Unexpected Twist. The new play, with music, opened at Royal & Derngate, Northampton last week and comes to The Lowry, Salford in May as part of a national tour.

Unexpected Twist is a re-telling of the Charles Dickens classic, Oliver Twist, by one of the best-loved figures in the children’s book world, Michael Rosen. Adapted for the stage by BAFTA award-winning playwright Roy Williams (SoulSucker Punch), with original music by rising R&B star Yaya Bey and BAC Beatbox Academy’s Conrad Murray, also musical director, Unexpected Twist is a thrilling new production from the producing partnership behind Holes and The Jungle Book.

Shona and her class are studying Oliver Twist. She’s new in school and keeps finding herself in trouble – much like Oliver himself! When she’s given a new phone by a stranger, she begins to suspect there’s something fishy about the new kids she’s met…

This brand new play brings to vivid life the worlds of both Shona and Oliver, as their stories twist together, unexpectedly!

Michael Rosen said: “I have always been a huge lover of theatre and the dramatic arts. I believe in the power and value of live performance and rate it as an equal to all the other literary activities. I can’t describe what a thrill it is for me to know Unexpected Twist is going to be a play. I’ve already seen a draft script and it leapt off the page. I could immediately ‘see’ it as being a funny, tough, edgy, contemporary, powerful show. I am desperate to see it.”

The play stars Kate Donnachie (Aladdin) as Desree, Alex Hardie (Frankenstein: How To Make A Monster) as Gazz, Rosie Hilal (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) as Miss Cavani, Drew Hylton (Annie) as Shona, Nadine Rose Johnson (Frankenstein: How To Make A Monster) as Rosie, Polly Lister (The Worst Witch) as Nan/Lorraine, Alexander Lobo Moreno (GrimeBoy) as Tino, James Meteyard (Coriolanus) as Pops, Liyah Summers (Our Lady Of Kibeho) as Rasheda, and Thomas Vernal (The Book of Mormon) as Dad.

Unexpected Twist has design by Frankie Bradshaw (Two Trains Running) and choreography by Olivier Award-winning Arielle Smith (Jolly Folly), lighting design by Rory Beaton (Death Drop, For Black Boys), sound design by Leigh Davies (Matilda) with casting by Annelie Powell CDG.

The creative team also includes Sarah Stacey (Associate Director), Gurkiran Kaur (Voice Coach) and Kate Waters (Fight Director). Production Management is by Martin Thompson (Northampton) and Ben Arkell (Tour) with Lisa Lewis (Company Stage Manager – Northampton), Neil Bull (Company Stage Manager – Tour), Karen Habens (Deputy Stage Manager), Sara-Jayne Smith (Assistant Stage Manager), Charles Parry (Sound No 1) and Molly English (Head of Wardrobe) completing the team.

Unexpected Twist follows The Children’s Theatre Partnership’s hugely successful production of Robert Icke’s Animal Farm, a reimagined version led entirely by puppets, which toured nationally from February 2022.

What’s On Stage 4*s “musical mash-up of Dickens and beatbox is the perfect combo”

For more information please visit

Latest Posts