Opening This Week: Oliver Twist & Charlie PaoraDate: 24 February 2004
With a quiet week in the capital’s commercial theatre, the two major openings in London this week are both taking place west of the West End:
OPENING WEDNESDAY, 25 February 2004 (previews from 20 February), at the Lyric Hammersmith in west London, Charles Dickens’ 19th-century literary classic Oliver Twist gets a fresh twist in a new stage version adapted, from the original text, and directed by Lyric artistic director Neil Bartlett.
Michael Feast (as Fagin), Nicholas Asbury (Bill Sykes), Kellie Shirley (Nancy), Owen Sharpe (Dodger), Paul Hunter (Mr Bumble) and newcomer Jordan Metcalf in the title role lead the 13-strong company. After its London season finishes on 27 March, the production will continue on tour to Guildford, Bath, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Warwick and Brighton, where it concludes on 15 May 2004.
OPENING THURSDAY, 26 February 2004 (preview 25 February), is The Sons of Charlie Paora, which has a short season at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs in Sloane Square, playing until 6 March (See News, 14 Nov 2003). The New Zealand-set play – which centres on a group of young men who gather to acknowledge the passing of their mentor, the man of the title – is written by actor Lennie James, who was critically acclaimed last year for his role in Roy Williams’ Fallout, also at the Royal Court.
The Sons of Charlie Paora was first produced in Auckland in 2002. It's directed by Sam Scott and is presented at the Royal Court by Massive Company, a collective of theatre professionals embracing the multi-culturalism of New Zealand. James' other writing credits include Storm Damage. As an actor, he's well known for roles such as A Raisin in the Sun on stage and, on screen, 24 Hour Party People and Snatch.
- by Terri Paddock