Twisted - a sequel to the Dickens classic Oliver - is the realisation of a dream for 72-year-old singer-songwriter ESLER BURKE. It has taken years of burning the candle at both ends to write the script and the songs for the production, and what became an all-consuming task has also cost him every penny of his life's savings. That he has created something special is obvious in the calibre of top musical professionals who have come on board to help bring the play to stage.

It all started when he first saw the film Oliver with Ron Moody as Fagin in the Regal Cinema in his home town of Larne 20 years ago. The movie captivated him and left him with a fascination for the story. He says: "I went to see Oliver and was blown away by it. Lionel Bart, who created the music and lyrics, became my hero."Those great songs were just amazing and I read the book and went to see the theatre production and every production or film I could. I got into in my 50s and up until then I had never really discovered musical theatre, but I found that I loved it. "That started me thinking of all the great films there are which have sequels and wondering why there was never a sequel to Oliver.

 

"I found the spark to get me going on writing the script when I read the book. I was surprised to come across Oliver's half-brother Edward Leford, who did not appear in the film. He was 14 years older than Oliver, a lifelong criminal and he tries to get Oliver killed. "I decided to take the story up when Oliver is 25 and when he meets and falls in love with Jane their happiness seems assured. However, all is not as it first seems, and dark days lie ahead.

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ESLER BURKE

Composer