FAGIN’S TWIST (Avant Garde Dance Company and The Place): Edinburgh Fringe 2017

What Fringe Festival? The Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Phindie writer Kathryn Osenlund visited Scotland to see some shows from the home of Fringe.

IMG_3212FAGIN’S TWIST turns the Oliver story upside down. A sometime-narrator, the Dodger, wants us to see how it ‘really’ happened: “The truth will set us all free.” Young men (and some actors are women) are confined to a workhouse, where they execute rough and routinized dances with precision. With complex mechanics involved in a workhouse escape, you can’t take your eyes off the choreography. Dialogue and narration are confined to necessity in this basically show-don’t-tell story. But just as you’re having a Dickens of a time trying to keep the story straight (because Fagin’s Twist really is quite a twist), the Dodger sets us straight in a re-cap. Fagin, with shades of Captain Jack Sparrow, laments that he has to carve his little crimial crew’s path through dirt and hope, and everyone always wants more. Young Oliver connives.

Dances, with bold music back-up, are big and bad, b-boy, joyful, dark, comical, and specific. With sleight of hand the tricky set constantly changes along with the complex sound design. The great artistry in action, set, lighting, and sound assure that nothing is generalized in the riveting FAGIN’S TWIST. Writer: Maxwell Golden; Choreography & Direction Tony Adigun. Artful Dodger, Aaron Nuttall; Joshua James Smith, Fagin; Dani Harris Walters, Bill Sykes; Ellis Saul, Nancy; Jemima Brown, Oliver Twist; Sia Gbamoi, Chloe Jones, Sasha Shadid, Ensemble.B

[Zoo Southside, Nicolson St, Edinburgh, August 24, 2017 @avantgardedance, theplace.org.uk, media@edfringe.com ]

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About the author

Kathryn Osenlund, theater and film junkie, is a former National Critics Institute fellow, NEA fellow in Arts Journalism, and member of the American Theater Critics Assn Steinberg and Osborn playwriting awards committee. A Barrymore Award nominator and professor emeritus in communications and theater, Kathryn also writes for NY-based CurtainUp.com. On twitter @theatrendorphin.