© James Hyland 1998-2021
Fagin's Last Hour
Based on the novel ‘Oliver Twist’ by Charles Dickens
Presented in association with Harrogate Theatre
Adapted, Produced and Performed by James Hyland
Directed by Phil Lowe
"Saw Fagin’s Last Hour yesterday in Stafford. Still in my head. Brilliant performance. Brilliant performance. Brilliant performance. I love what you did."
~Windy Miller, @stephen7837
"Just seen Fagin's Last Hour at @Staff_Gatehouse. Brilliant show from @JamesHylandUK and @BrotherWolfUK. Very dramatic and tragic angle on Twist, funny too... Thanks for an entertaining evening."
~Richard Lakin, @Lakinwords
"Just come out of the Met at Stafford after seeing Last Hour of Fagin. Fantastic... Saw your Marley a few years ago and thought that was good but this surpasses that... Wonderful. Thanks. Just great James. Had me and my son talking all evening afterwards. Brill. How you changed your whole character through your stance, etc, etc. Real acting at its best!"
"Watched your show tonight at The Gatehouse. I enjoyed the show very much and appreciated the hard work involved in your craft. Thank you."
"On Saturday night we had the pleasure of watching James Hyland in Fagin's Last Hour - absolutely fantastic performance. Thank you! :)"
"Amazing, gripping, one of the best pieces of acting I have seen for many years. Congratulations. We will return"
"Just seen Fagin's Last Hour at the Sheppey Little Theatre. What a tour de force! Brilliant acting - all the characters came to life. Thank you for a splendid evening."
"Amazing must-see one-man show at the Sheppey Little Theatre tonight"
"Watched Fagin's Last Hour at Harrogate Theatre tonight produced by James Hyland. One of the best shows I've ever seen. Go see if you get a chance."
"Your performance as Fagin was truly brilliant tonight! Gripped by your intensity & storytelling from start to end. BRILLIANT!"
"Fagin's Last Hour at Harrogate Theatre tonight was as intense a piece of theatre as I've ever seen. Engaging and unsettling in equal measure."
"One man, one hour but what an hour! Just brilliant. Intense, moving, thought-provoking and memorable."
"Just want to thank you for the finest performance that myself and my husband have ever had the pleasure to witness. Incredible!"
"Wow. That's all I can say 'WOW'!... I was utterly drawn in. An exceptionally powerful and intensely captivating performance. I was very moved! Two hours later and we are still talking about how fantastic it was. Thank you, thank you so much."
"May I say that the performance from James Hyland was superb... My sincere congratulations to all the team. Great theatre."
"I saw your performance at Stepney Stwdio last Thursday, and felt I had to tell you what a moving performance it was. Your performance was so convincing that I was in that cell with you! I am a huge fan of Dickens, particularly Oliver Twist, so to see such an intimate performance of a small part of that story was fantastic. I have seen several of Simon Callow's one man Dickens performances, and have to say that yours is definitely on a par, if not better. Keep doing what you're doing. I hope to have the opportunity to see more of your work. Da iawn!"
"it was exceptional, what an incredible talent he is, he made jumping between multiple characters look effortless. Mind. Blown."
"Really enjoyed Fagin's Last Hour in Y Ffwrnes last night, thought it was fantastic."
~Callum Rhys Williams
"Awesome performance at FFWRNACE THEATRE LLANELLI tonight. Congratulations/LLONGYFARCHIADAU."
~Carys Rhys Jones
"I thoroughly enjoyed the performance and I brought my 14 year daughter and she was blown away!"
"What can I say about Fagin's Last Hour? Well, if all live theatre were as mesmerising, soul searching and totally immersive as this I would never be away. To say this was a one man show is an understatement. All the characters that were portrayed throughout the attention-holder hour were without exception brilliantly executed (excuse the unintentional pun). If you get the privilege to go see this production then grab the opportunity and sit back and be entertained as you may never have been before. Well done and thank you for a brilliant evening. Can't wait to see your other productions."
"Fantastic performance. Astonishing."
"Brilliant performance, what a talented man. Hope to see more of your work."
"I saw your performance of 'Fagin's Last Hour' at the Kenneth More Theatre last Saturday, and I just wanted to say "Well Done" on a brilliant performance, which was very moving. You could feel the pain, anguish, and despair of Fagin during his last hour seeping out from the stage; and you could almost believe that you were there in the prison cell with him; there was such an emotionally charged atmosphere. I saw you last year at the Kenneth More Theatre in 'A Christmas Carol - As told by Jacob Marley (Deceased)' and I thought you were brilliant in that too. I am looking forward to seeing you in a future production."
"This was brilliant!! A pure lesson in acting at the Kenneth More Theatre. Will definitely book for his 'Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde'."
~Diana Fairbairn Smith
"Just to say I saw your show at the Kenneth More Theatre today and was so impressed with the performance. Many congratulations! I certainly hope to be around for the next one!... Well done indeed."
"My family and I came to see 'Fagin's Last Hour' at the Marlowe Theatre on 12/12/13 not really knowing what to expect having been intrigued by your video. We were totally blown away with your performance. Your ability to capture every character and take us with you on your journey was fantastic. To have the opportunity to speak to you afterwards and get an insight into your reasons behind the way you approached the performance was great for my step daughter to hear as she is studying performing arts and loves English literature."
"Following last night's production of 'Fagin's Last Hour' at Ballakermeen Theatre Studio, I felt moved to email to express our admiration for James' talent. He was mesmerising. It seemed every member of the appreciative audience held their breath, their sniffs and their throat-clearing inward, so as not to miss a syllable! This is somewhat rare in a theatre experience and testament to the power of delivery! Less than one week ago, we enjoyed 'War Horse' and 'Phantom of the Opera' in the West End and this performance ranked right up there. Thank you!"
~Di and Ed Swain
"Just wanted to tell you how much we enjoyed your performance, it was absolutely outstanding, very powerful and emotional. The depiction of the different characters by yourself really brought their individual characters to life, truly amazing. Thank you for a wonderful hour."
~Lynne and Michael Dew
"Unbelievably powerful performance this evening. James Hyland is a transformer of the highest order. I am so glad that we went to see this tonight."
~Sarah Bartlett Dawber
"MINDBLOWINGLY GOOD!!! If you get the chance to see it, do so... It's one hour of your life you won't want back!!!"
"I would just like to say how much we enjoyed your performance on Saturday night at SJT. Enthralling, incredibly well-acted, and a fascinating piece of social commentary. I hope to have the chance to see it again, and can't wait to see your 'Christmas Carol' adaptation."
~Janet Farley, Proprietor at Ivy Dene Guest House
"Thank you, James, for a wonderful evening's entertainment, we thoroughly enjoyed your performance, and the whole experience."
~Jeff Farley, Proprietor at Ivy Dene Guest House
"I just wanted to let you know that I saw your performance of 'Fagin's Last Hour' today at the Rochester Dickens Festival and I was stunned that you could communicate so much of the story in such a powerful way alone on the stage with no props. I am truly impressed, and I felt you should know that as I didn't get a chance to say so at the time. Thank you for your performance, I'm very glad I got a chance to see it."
"I'd like to congratulate you, that was a fantastic performance and you did a really good job of writing and adapting it... Also with an ability and talent like that you should really be in a film like 'Pirates of the Caribbean', you'd be so good as Barbossa or Jack. Thanks."
"Monsieur. Je tenais a vous remercier, et saluer votre performance dans le rôle de FAGIN: J ai pu vous apprécier hiers a Rochester. Je comprends peu votre langue mais en me remémorant les histoires de Charles Dickens; et votre interprétation; j ai passé un excellent moment. J etais de passage pour "the Christmas Market" je viens d une ville du Nord de la France: ARLEUX. Encore merci merci!!!"
"Many congratulations on your brilliant performance - I was spellbound and amazed at the ease with which you portrayed the various characters. Congratulations too on the adaptation... All the very best for the rest of the tour. Do keep me informed of any future projects."
"Saw your performances at the Kings Theatre, Portsmouth, and just wanted to say how great they were. I can truly say they were amongst the best shows I have seen in all my 64 years... Good luck with the tour."
"James, it was fabulous, we all thought it was great"
~Jill Craig and family
"A brilliant show... thought-provoking throughout - thank you for a great performance."
~Pip Todman, Proprietor at Queen Pip Cards
"James Hyland gives a truly captivating and mesmerising performance in his one man show 'Fagin's Last Hour'. I first saw him in 'A Christmas Carol - As told by Jacob Marley (deceased)' and was bowled over by his boundless energy, effortless storytelling and his seamless transformation from character to character. For that hour I was transported right back into the visceral and harsh world of Dickens. In 'Fagin's Last Hour' he weaves the same unique magic but this time sets a much darker tone. This is live theatre at its best: Hypnotic, gripping, thought-provoking and at times utterly terrifying. Performances, writing and direction like this are very few and far between. Pure Gold!!"
~Jason Ramsay, Proprietor at Concept London Apartments
"Awesome show. I always know I'll see a stunning performance with electric intensity and wondrous characterisation when I see you perform... Brilliant."
"Hyland's masterful performance of Fagin as he faces his last hour removes any lingering 'Bartian sentiments' and reveals a plain truth version of Oliver Twist. A version that reflects the brutal unfairness of Dickensian society whilst providing the audience with a useful lens to examine the social problems inherent in Britain today. Hyland is the master of this one man show as he effortlessly and imaginatively breathes new life into a catalogue of familiar characters. The play is a fitting tribute to the 200th Anniversary of Dickens' birth."
~Diane Evans, Chaplain at Hereford 6th Form College
"I have to say, I cannot think of a more visceral, raw and powerful performance. I am sure you have heard it all before but I walked away thinking I had seen a cross between Pacino and Seymour Hoffman. You must be exhausted after every performance. I have done plenty of stage play myself but I dont think I have ever pushed myself to the level you have... I enjoyed the personal goodbye as you were off to the galleys too...freaked me out really. :) It felt like if you touched me I might end up there with you!"
~Brendan Sloane, Actor/Producer
"you were brilliant! Yes, a dark play but one that stays with you, makes you think"
Dasha Schindler, Photographer
"totally brilliant!!! You were incredible. Well done!!!"
~Laura Hearsh, Holistic Therapist
"We have just got back from seeing your performance at Sale, Waterside. We wanted to let you know how brilliant you were, we were transfixed from start to finish. Loved it."
~Steve and Angela
"We (Nigel and Jackie) live in Derby, and for various reasons, we missed your date here on Thursday 25 October. So we drove to Stafford for the Friday night show - and we are so glad that we did. The select audience were richly rewarded with what has to be the standout performance of the year... We found your performance both powerful and emotive. Mr Dickens would be most proud of your performance and your wonderful adaptation of his story. Well done, says Nigel. I (Jackie) work in an organisation that supports and houses people who are or have been homeless, and I particularly liked the strong points you made about society creating the conditions that leads the Fagins, Bills and Nancies of Victorian Britain, and today, to live as they do, the forces that shape and warp and twist people...I often struggle to explain the people I meet and get to know, to people who prefer to not see them, and would like to think that 'those people' don't have to live or behave 'like that'. Made me think again, about how I do what I do, and the effect I have. It's just not possible to put into words, the effect your performance had on me, it was beyond that. Thank you."
~Jackie and Nigel Carpenter, Derby Night Shelter
"what an immense performance for one man and great storytelling"
Tim Elliott, All About Derbyshire
"Your show was the best I've seen at Louth and it was an honour to work for you."
~Nick Kendall, Lighting/Sound Operator
"Fagin’s Last Hour is a finely crafted, superbly acted piece of live theatre. James Hyland’s interpretation of Isaac Fagin is chilling and mesmerising and leaves you spellbound. No sanitised musical version of Oliver Twist, this is true Dickensian London which succinctly relates the Oliver Twist story and you leave the theatre feeling you have witnessed something rare and special with acting of the highest calibre. If the chance arises, go and see. I guarantee you will not be disappointed."
"Just to say that I thoroughly enjoyed 'Fagin's Last Hour'... The hairs on the back of my neck stood up at the ending. It is powerful theatre, and your portrayal of all the characters, and the transitions from one to another, was mesmerising... The set, lighting and sound design were very much part of the performance, congratulations to the designers... I hope that you have continued success with 'Fagin's Last Hour' - it's brilliant!"
~Linda Rogout, Lighting Designer
"one of the best performances ever"
~Chris Reed, Big Fish Arts
"an incredible experience. Hyland transforms between characters with the merest shrug... His Bill Sikes became menacing just by the set of his neck... But the most startling transformation was into Bull's-eye, exploding across the stage in the way a vicious dog intent on ripping you up just might. We all recoiled in our seats. The death of Nancy was so vivid, that even though Hyland was the only person on stage, you could feel the violence, electric in the air... It was such a breathtaking performance that the audience stayed for a few moments after it concluded to exchange views prior to leaving. We all wanted to tell each other how incredible it was. I'd recommend it to anyone - so long as you are not of a nervous disposition!"
~Janys Thornton, Secretary, Sheppey Little Theatre
"thanks for a great performance. Thoroughly enjoyed it! You made it a very compelling and exciting retelling of the story. It also asked different questions of loyalty and also of the treatment of the people on the fringes of society. It made me think that the righteous need the unrighteous to feel good. To solidify their identity so to speak. The portrayal of different characters was subtle and fully realised... it really was great work! Look forward to seeing the Jacob Marley one too at some point!"
~Kevin Hand, Actor
"Incredible show! Totally gripping performance, had me on the edge of my seat with my jaw dropped!"
~Danielle McClure, Care Worker
"Saw the show on Friday, just amazing! I was pretty much shaking after, didn't know if I should laugh or cry. Really cool!!"
~Cassiana Pratt, Production and Studio Coordinator at Not To Scale
"Last night at Tara you blew me away!!... I just had to write to tell you how much I enjoyed 'Fagin's Last Hour'. It was a real tour-de-force of a performance - I was moved and scared in almost equal measure - so very well done. I would love to come and see your Jacob Marley. I also wanted to compliment you on the writing; you obviously have a real talent there as well."
~Paul Varlaam, Charity Worker
"fantastic show... well done! A brilliant adaptation. Accessible and yet not glossing over the extreme ugliness of the era... such good work."
~Nick Bartlett, Actor
"Saw the show tonight and it was amazing!"
"What a compelling story and fantastic performance by James Hyland. Really brings Fagin's side of Oliver Twist's story to life. James steps effortlessly from one character to the next, each with their unique mannerisms and authentic cockney euphemisms. I felt immediately transported to a Dickensian London and immersed in Fagin's world."
~Kristina Day, Writer
"My son and I came to see your show at Darlington Arts Centre... I have to say we were very impressed, we had a great time... After the show my son said you were an inspiration... He has told everyone we know about coming to see the show and what a great actor can do in a one-man show... we look forward to seeing more of your work in the future. A big well done to you and all your crew."
~Claire Hurworth, Customer Service Manager
"The acting was absolutely spectacular... stunning play"
~Sky Yang, Drama Student
"Came along tonight with my Mum not really sure what to expect and I have to say, we were both completely blown away by your performance. The way you shifted between the characters was just awesome and made them instantly recognisable. You really did a fantastic job... I will keep an eye out for your next project and I wish you the very best. You really deserve the best of success. Superb!"
~Natasha Jayne Holland
"I watched your performance tonight, at The Georgian Theatre. I was blown away, I have never seen anything like it in my life! I cannot come down from this; I don't know how to feel. You are a genius and I hope that you return to Richmond."
"James Hyland triumphs again with 'Fagin's Last Hour', displaying virtuosity as an actor as well as his customary compassion, humanity and good humour. The story of Oliver Twist is vividly retold from Fagin's vile perspective, and whilst the retelling lacks none of the original Dickensian charm, it is a convincingly unsentimental version for a modern audience. Fagin is despicably real and yet the hour in his company is as enjoyable and amusing as it is challenging. Hyland's Sikes is also powerfully credible, and his characterisation of Nancy is one of uncommon sensitivity. Ultimately this is an evening of superb storytelling to whet the appetite ahead of Dickens' bicentenary celebrations."
~ Diana Hillier, Theatre Practitioner
"spectacular… took my breath away. Phenomenal… James Hyland's one man show 'Fagin's Last Hour' was simply incredible. One of the most astoundingly brilliant performances I've ever seen… I want to see it again."
~Mellissa Flowerdew-Clarke, Audience Development Officer at The Palace Theatre
"As close to being in the room with Fagin, Sikes, Nancy and Oliver as Dickens could ever have intended with only James Hyland on stage for the duration of the show. You will be hard pushed to ever absorb a clearer, more compelling understanding of the unfolding events that lead to Fagin's Last Hour."
~Steve Thorn, Director of Resources at RSVP (Media Response) Ltd
"Wow... James put to shame so many stage performers. His passion and energy is unsurpassed. His ability to paint pictures with characters is amazing. More please?"
~Luke Allen, Technology and Edit Assistant at Not To Scale
"Saw the show last night and thought it and YOU were fantastic!!! As I was leaving two older gentlemen were walking towards the tube in front of me and I overheard their conversation too - they were blown away by it and in particular the murder of Nancy. So glad I came along. Hope you get to take it further… Brilliant! Once again so well done."
~Sally Mortemore, Actress/Writer/Voice-Over Artist
"Absolutely awesome performance last night. Throughly enjoyed it! Nancy was my favourite, felt that she was captured wonderfully. A theatrical treat!"
~Rosie Donovan, Nurse
"sheer brilliance! [James Hyland] has the presence of some of the great old stars… Laurence Olivier, Peter O’Toole. He should be reaching a wider audience."
~Carol Goulbourne, Social Worker
"James Hyland as Fagin + every other part in Fagin's Last Hour. Audience stunned into awed silence. Brilliant." ~Shirley Waite
"Fagin's Last Hour is the best thing I've ever seen at Harrogate Theatre. Superb."
"THE BEST THING I’VE EVER SEEN!"
"My Wife and I travelled from Sunderland to see your performance on Saturday night at Harrogate and I simply just had to contact you to say that I was 'Blown Away' by the experience... Can I just say that Saturday's experience was the best I have had yet to date and add that it`s because of people like you that Dickens lives on in our lives and I personally can`t thank you enough for that. You are an absolute treasure!!!"
~Brian Roberts, Member of The Dickens Fellowship
"Just got home from watching a fabulous performance… I think everyone left feeling that they had seen something quite special… Totally compelling, just fantastically acted. The simple scenery and lighting were just so effective. Totally loved it. Thanks for such a brilliant evening James, well done… In fact, enjoyed it so much, I'm coming along again tonight with my husband!"
"It's quite refreshing to see theatre done well. Fagin's Last Hour was exactly that."
"Yet again a moving and energy packed adaptation by James Hyland. The brilliance with which he transforms from character to character is outstanding. A heartfelt welldone."
~Sharon Easyrider Lovatt
"Went on Saturday night - yet again James Hyland gives us an amazing performance, full of power and feeling. I will be watching out for him returning to Harrogate and I will be there."
"Amazing night at Harrogate Theatre last night watching 'Fagin's Last Hour'."
"I saw 'Fagin's Last Hour' at Harrogate Theatre this evening. Very impressive." ~Richard
"just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the show last night. I chose a front row seat and it was like the performance was directed only at me... I will be singing its praises to anyone that will listen to encourage them to go."
~David Archer, Theatre Awards UK Panelist