Esler takes fresh look at Dickens classic for brand new musical

Esler Burke.
Esler Burke.

Larne musician and playwright Esler Burke will be promoting his new play “Twisted” at the Prom Cafe on Thursday evening (January 17).

Customers will be able to enjoy a preview of original songs from the new musical which was penned and composed by Esler.

The evening, compered by presenter Ronan Kelly, will start at 7.30 pm. Everyone welcome.

“Twisted” develops the Charles Dickens’ classic tale of “Oliver Twist”, the character whom Esler describes as “the boy who wanted more”.

Esler said: “I had the idea five years ago.I absolutely loved Oliver. There has been a sequel to all the big shows.”

Esler explained that he has taken his inspiration from a character in the Charles Dicksens novel, Edward Leeford ,later known as Monks who was a half-brother of the central character Oliver Twist.

“I thought I could write a musical bringing this guy into it. I am a very big fan of Dickens and I think Oliver is the best musical of all time.”

Esler’s own production “Twisted” takes up the story when Oliver is aged in his twenties.

“It is now 15 years on and Oliver Twist is now in his late twenties. When he first meets and falls in love with Jane, their happiness seems assured. However, all is not as it first seems; dark days lie ahead. Characters from Oliver and Jane’s past come back into their lives, but who can they trust? Who is out for revenge?

“Twisted is an intriguing continuation of the tale of Oliver and is guaranteed to have you on the edge of your seat as the story unfolds.”

It features 21 songs and will be staged by Home Spun Youth Theatre.

Esler said: “Twisted my musical is being put on at Theatre at the Mill, Newtownabbey, from Wednesday 20 to Sunday 24 February. I have six shows to fill which is quite the challenge for a new musical.

“I could not have done it on my own. I am working with the best team in the country. I am very excited.”

An earlier production of 72-year-old Esler’s was staged previously at The Auditorium in Larne in 2011.

Hundreds of people packed the venue for the debut perfomance of “Behind the Dream” which took ten years to complete by Esler and fellow singer/songwriter Richard Geddis.

Esler and Richard had played in bands together when they were younger and had been writing music separately for many years.

Esler, a well-known figure in the music scene, toured the country with his Irish showband ‘Springfield’ back in the seventies and still enjoys gigging today.