2:53pm Thursday 11th April 2013
A CONTEMPORARY take on one of Charles Dickens’ novels – which is impressing purists, too – is on its way to The Haymarket.
There are no prizes for guessing which book Curiosity Shop is a treatment of! This acclaimed revisiting by Theatre Alibi, based on an adaptation by Daniel Jamieson, came about because of its pertinence.
Director Nikki Sved explains: “Our starting point in choosing a story to adapt for the stage is always, first and foremost, ‘Is it a good story?’ closely followed by ‘Why tell that story now?’.
“Curiosity Shop is a cracking story, but at its heart are things that feel really current and particularly relevant at the moment – debt, gambling, homelessness – not least its focus on the story’s younger characters.
“Young people are having a hard time finding work, finding a home, just finding a place in the world where they can be supported, let alone contribute. That situation has come about partly because of things previous generations have done, particularly financial decisions, and there are many echoes of that in the novel.”
It’s the tale of Nell Trent, who lives with her grandfather above the Curiosity Shop, a vintage record store.
When the shop is repossessed by a malignant loan shark, Nell and Grandpa are forced to hit the road. Living rough, they meet the usual suspects in cities and villages across England.
Just in case you’re thinking it all sounds a bit bleak, Nikki has some words of reassurance.
She enthuses: “The real joy of Curiosity Shop is that comedy and tragedy are both there by the bucket load, often side by side in its terrific plot and brilliant, larger-than-life characters.
“We’d like our show to make audiences laugh and cry as well as taking home something to think about.
"Curiosity Shop’s very eclectic recorded soundtrack ranges from The Three Tenors to Duran Duran, from Elvis Presley to Professor Green.”
It also embraces multimedia through its giant film projections which show parts of England as Nell and Grandpa travel through town and country.
Nikki concludes: “Our approach has been rather like the BBC TV’s hugely successful Sherlock series – creating a contemporary version while staying true to the spirit of the original.
“Telling such an epic tale is a pleasure. The interweaving of plotlines and the sense of really getting to know the characters by the end of the piece are very satisfying.”
*See Curiosity Shop in The Haymarket from Wednesday, April 24 until Saturday, April 27. Tickets are available from the box office on 01256 844244 or online at anvilarts.org.uk.
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