Oliver will be highlight of week of Dickens delights
Q. Just to clarify, this is Oliver Twist the Dickens story, rather than Oliver! the musical?
A. To maintain the integrity of the Dickens side of the festival, the play is always based on the novel itself.
Q.Who dramatised Dickens' words?
A. Oliver Twist was originally dramatised by me for the 1999 festival and has not been seen since. I have dramatised 12 to date and hope to complete a play version of all of them eventually, concluding with supplying a new ending to Dickens last unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
Q. What made you chose Oliver?
A. It was the next in line within the cycle of plays I have scripted.
Q. Is it just the festival play you're directing or do you do others?
A. My first festival play was in 1990 and I have continued ever since. In addition to the Dickens Play I have directed a number of productions for Broadstairs Dickens Players since the mid 80s.
Q. Who plays the lead characters?
Alfie Lawrence is Oliver, Matthew Danes is Fagin and Hannah Wise plays Nancy. Alfie Lawrence, Nick Black and Jane Danes play Mr Brownlow, Mr Bumble and Mrs Corney. The cast also include some new actors playing the minor roles.
Q. How have rehearsals been going?
A. We generally rehearse for six weeks in the Granville Theatre bar. Theatre and cinema-goers hear the odd ear-splitting scream when the murder of Nancy, which Dickens was famous for enacting himself, takes place. As with all my previous productions, I always try to produce not only a good show for audiences to watch but an enjoyable production for the cast to take part in. Getting one's head around some of Dickens' more complex Victorian speech is always difficult and we work hard to ensure that what is heard is the original text and not the actor's best stab.
Oliver Twist runs from Saturday, June 16 to Wednesday, June 20 at the Memorial Theatre, Hilderstone, Broadstairs and will be staged nightly at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £9 adults, £4 children under 12 from info@sarahthorne- theatreclub.co.uk, 0845 2626263 or 07794 656149.
Philip Shaw is the director of Ramsgate's Granville Theatre.