Unexpected Twist is the re-telling of the Charles Dickens classic, Oliver Twist, by one of the best-loved figures in the children's book world, Michael Rosen. Combining two stories in one; Rosen’s story and the Dickens classic that inspired it. Two stories that twist together, unexpectedly!

Shona and her class are studying the book, Oliver Twist. She’s the new girl in school and is finding it hard to stay out of trouble – much like Oliver himself! When she’s given a new phone by a stranger, she begins to suspect there’s something unusual about the new boys she’s met.

Michel Rosen is the English children's novelist, poet, and the author of 140 books. He served as Children's Laureate from June 2007 to June 2009. He has been a TV presenter and a political columnist, and his books include Carrying the Elephant: A Memoir of Love and Loss and Uncle Billy Being Silly.

This thrilling production is brought to vivid life by The Children’s Theatre Partnership, whose shows have included Animal Farm, Holes and The Jungle Book. Directed by James Dacre (2020 Olivier Award nominated Our Lady of Kibeho), Rosen’s novel is adapted for the stage by BAFTA award winning playwright Roy Williams with original music by rising R&B star Yaya Bey and BAC Beatbox Academy’s Conrad Murray.

  • ★★★★ Musical mash-up of Dickens and beatbox is the perfect combo

  • ★★★★ Bold reimagining of Oliver Twist reinvigorates the timeless story for a young, contemporary audience

  • ★★★★★ Edgy but family-friendly Dickens revamp

  • ★★★★ A gripping watch. I would watch it again and would recommend this to my friends

Tour Dates 2023

    More theatres to be announced


Practical activity ideas for teachers

Use alongside the study of Unexpected Twist by Michael Rosen. Our activities use creative, active approaches to explore different themes.

The activities can be used in any order and you do not have to use all of them. They can be adapted for use with different themes and events from the story, or with other stories you study.


  • Written byMichael Rosen
  • Adapted byRoy Williams
  • Music byYaya Bey   Conrad Murray
  • Directed byJames Dacre
  • Designed byFrankie Bradshaw
  • Lighting Designer Rory Beaton
  • Sound Designer Leigh Davies
  • Musical Direction by Conrad Murray
  • Choreography by Arielle Smith
  • Associate Director Sarah Stacey
  • Casting by Annelie Powell CDG
  • Voice Coach Gurkiran Kaur
  • Fight Director Kate Waters
  • Production Manager (Northampton) Martin Thompson
  • Production Manager (Tour) Ben Arkell
  • Company Stage Manager (Northampton) Lisa Lewis
  • Company Stage Manager (Tour) Neil Bull
  • Deputy Stage Manager Karen Habens
  • Assistant Stage Manager Sara-Jayne Smyth
  • Sound No 1 Charles Parry
  • Sound No 2 Erin Wilson
  • Head of Wardrobe Molly English