Saturday, 8 September 2012

Fagin's Last Hour (theatre)

Among the many reasons to celebrate 2012, this year is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens. One of his most famous novels is Oliver Twist and the story in a re-imagined form is being performed at the Underground Theatre by the wonderful James Hyland. Hyland has also written the one-man play and it is directed by Phil Lowe.

In Fagin's Last Hour, the underworld villain, Fagin, who controlled a gang of child pickpockets and thieves, has been arrested and imprisoned. He is sentenced to hang and we join him for his final hour of life as he recounts the tale of his downfall. As madness takes him over, we learn about Sikes and Nancy, the incorruptible orphan Oliver Twist, and the harsh Victorian society which created men like Fagin. There will be a post-show talk by the actor. The powerful performance and subject matter is not recommended for children under twelve years old.

James Hyland, through his theatre company Brother Wolf, performed and produced A Christmas Carol - As Told by Jacob Marley (deceased) which was also at the Underground last year. Fagin's Last Hour is produced in association with Harrogate Theatre.

Underground Theatre, Sat 6th Oct, 19:30.
£10 (£9 UGT members/concessions).
Tickets available online, by telephone on 0845 680 1926, or in person at the Tourist Information Office or the Underground Theatre when it is open.

1 comment:

  1. Fagin's Last Hour began with a crush in the foyer as the play was satisfying well attended and the doors opened 'late'. The reason for this was soon apparent as James Hyland starts the play already comatose onstage and I wouldn't have wanted to lie so still for too long either. The simple set is four short metal pillars to indicate the corners of the prison cell and scattered straw lines for the walls. This is surprisingly effective as, when Fagin does finally step from the cell, it was a nervous moment in the audience. I had not been aware of how reassuring a barrier the straw line was until it was broken.
    Hyland put in a powerhouse performance throughout and did not lose character for a second. Primarily Fagin, he also morphs into the other characters including, briefly but memorably, Bullseye. Dodger is a little weaker but all the roles are clearly different and Sikes is so scary. It is easy to picture the imagined Oliver quaking. However, I wasn't convinced by the red light effect at the most violent point. While I understand why it was used, the illumination of the audience reminded me that I was in a theatre and, for me, it was distracting.
    The energy that Hyland drew upon for this very physical performance was incredible to see and I enjoyed his intelligent discussion of the work after the interval. I will definitely be booking for his next project!

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