Wednesday 16th January 2013  7pm £12 (£10 conc)

WINNER – Best Performer in Theatre (Fringe Report Awards 2012)

NOMINATED – London Theatre Award (London Awards for Art and Performance 2012)

Brother Wolf in association with Harrogate Theatre presents


Based on the novel ‘Oliver Twist’ by Charles Dickens

Adapted and performed by James Hyland

Directed by Phil Lowe

Following on from the record-breaking success of ‘A Christmas Carol – As told by Jacob Marley (deceased)’, celebrated production company, Brother Wolf,  and multi award-winning actor/writer and London Theatre Award Nominee 2012, James Hyland (recent recipient of Best Performer in Theatre – Fringe Report Awards 2012), return with ‘Fagin’s Last Hour’.

Charles Dickens’ classic tale of crime and punishment is stunningly re-imagined in this critically acclaimed stage adaptation. Told from the point of view of Fagin the Miser, one hour before his execution, this unique and powerful one-man show offers a fresh insight into literature’s most controversial villain.

Praise for ‘Fagin’s Last Hour’:

“If you thought you knew Oliver Twist then think again as James Hyland’s breathtaking adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel took the story to new and darker places. Hyland himself puts in another powerful, thought provoking and faultless performance as he brings every character to life with effortless ease and emotion which drags the audience into events on stage… Using Fagin as the sole storyteller is inspired as it offers a different viewpoint… This may be a million miles from the much-loved musical version, but Fagin’s Last Hour captures the true spirit and message of Dickens in a way a filmmaker never could.”

~Ian Dipple, Redditch Standard

“Astonishing performance… James Hyland, an astonishing actor, takes the peripheral character of Fagin and re-imagines his last hour as he awaits the gallows, bringing the other characters to life through his eyes… Hyland’s use of voice and stance to indicate which of the many characters he is representing is amazing and the energy and concentration he brings is truly astonishing… this was unforgettable theatre at its best.”

~Jane Howard, The Courier

“in this powerful and highly accomplished piece of Berkoffian physical theatre… the immensely talented James Hyland unfolds Fagin’s unappealing story and memories… The death of Nancy, and the reaction of Sikes and Fagin to it, is as chilling as anything I’ve seen onstage… The real strength of the piece lies in the way Hyland, despite everything his character has told us, manages to evoke human sympathy for a man about to face the horror of hanging… The ending, after Hyland has left the stage, will stay with me for a long time.”

~Susan Elkin, The Stage

“compelling throughout. Hyland’s presentation exploits his vocal range… and his extreme athleticism. (He changes from Fagin into a barking dog bounding across the floor, and back again, all in a matter of seconds.)… He has an uncanny ability to convince every member of an audience seated on two adjacent sides of a square auditorium that he is addressing them personally… do try to see his performance. You won’t forget it”

Rating: ***** (5 Stars)

~Tom Aitken, Plays to See

“Dickens described Fagin in the condemned cell as hurrying to and fro in ‘a paroxysm of fear and wrath’. As the hour expires, this mixture of impotent rage against those who have brought him to this sorry pass, and abject dread of the fate inexorably approaching, is powerfully portrayed. At one moment Fagin is defiantly demanding to know ‘what right have they to butcher me?’ – whilst at another he is scurrying around the confines of his cell like a caged and terrified animal. Mr Hyland succeeds in presenting Fagin as a complex human being”

~Paul Graham, The Dickensian (Official Journal of The Dickens Fellowship)

“In this one-man show, Fagin is brought vividly and chillingly to life by James Hyland. His costuming and make-up are pitched perfectly, depicting the social standing of this shady character with faultless attention to detail. Through immaculately stylised movements, Hyland morphs into the other characters in the story, and with nothing but his masterful physicality and excellent vocal flexibility each of the roles takes individual shape in the enrapt minds of the audience. Captivating to the point of inducing complete silence throughout the auditorium, Hyland is an exquisitely skilful storyteller.”

~Laura Kathryn Bennett, Behind the Footlights

“Chilling and extraordinary… it was played very strongly by James. A disturbing subject, his work was highly concentrated to portray this characterisation of Fagin…. he just switched characters so easily as he played out the story. It was clever and intense. The audience didn’t make a sound and sat motionless, and it was an alarming subject but only a true actor could make it believable and convincing. Like many of our most talented actors, musicians and writers and creative people, we don’t hear or see enough of the likes of James.”

~Bridget Metcalfe, BBC Radio Essex

“full of excitement, suspense and grief… The actor, James Hyland, who wrote, produced and acted as Fagin was superb. Full of multi-role playing, there was complete conviction in every single character he portrayed, from the lapel-holding excitable Artful Dodger, to the headstrong, feisty Nancy, her brow incredulously cocked, hand on hip. There was never a doubt as to which character he was playing; each had their own idiosyncratic mannerisms and Cockney accents. At one particularly impressive point, Hyland dropped to the floor with a bang, before playing the part of Bill Sikes’ dog, Bull’s-eye. He barked convincingly, bounding forwards as any threatened dog would, and the audience was captivated… Fagin’s Last Hour was incredibly enjoyable, designed to make the audience sympathise with the villain, for once.”

~Nisha Vaidya, Redbrick

“a gripping adaptation… Hyland lays bare Fagin’s character in all his complexities… highly engaging… Hyland’s intricate subtleties in body language are impressive, faultlessly switching between characters in Fagin’s recollections. You really do feel like you are watching a man pushed to the edge, as he cycles through remorse, guilt, anger and fear with tension rising to a very powerful ending.”

~David West, The Reliant

“a fantastic show… James Hyland brought Fagin into the spotlight showing regret, surprisingly some compassion and also agony as Fagin reflected on his fate, along with his clever portrayal of Nancy, the Artful Dodger and Bill Sikes.”

~Naomi Hand, The City Scene

“a very impressive performance… Hyland deftly switches from one character to another with precision and boundless energy. A nimble, confident Dodger, a warm-hearted and bolshie Nancy and a Sikes bristling with barely repressed violence all appear before our eyes… hugely engaging”

~Beth Eyre, Remotegoat

“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, Bull’s-eye… Sikes is so scary. It is easy to picture the imagined Oliver quaking…. The energy that Hyland drew upon for this very physical performance was incredible to see”

~Stephanie Burton, Theatrical Eastbourne

“powerfully portrayed with each character well differentiated by voice and movement… even Bull’s-eye’s got a cameo… There really is much to admire in this show… you will enjoy the experience.”

~Robert Iles, UK Theatre Web

“I will be singing its praises to anyone that will listen to encourage them to go.”

~David Archer, Theatre Awards UK

“I was blown away, I have never seen anything like it in my life!… genius”

~Jill Cará, Audience Member



RUNNING TIME: 60 minutes with no interval