Tony Gibbs is a UK songwriter whose current project is the updated version of the new rock musical ‘Twist and Turn’ based around the Isle of Man TT races, which was workshopped and showcased to full houses at the prestigious The Other Palace theatre in London in October 2018.
The fictional main character Robbie Skelton, who is now world Superbike Champion, returns to his birthplace on the Isle of Man in the lead up the annual TT races. Robbie’s return re-opens tensions within his family and friends especially when it turns out that his sister will be leading a team to ride at the forthcoming TT – against her brother. With a high octane mix of motorbikes, rock music, sex and mythology which draws upon many of the centuries old beliefs embedded within Isle of Man culture, Twist and Turn received standing ovations when it was showcased at first performances of the show in 2018 and is now being prepared for the next stages in the journey for this exciting new rock musical.
Tony Gibbs wrote the script as well as most of the songs for the show (music and lyrics) and co-wrote the remaining songs with long time collaborators Graeme Duffin of the legendary band Wet Wet Wet and Esther and Tim O’Connor (Ashton Lane) as well as co-writes between Tony and producer Sandy Jones.
Following audience feedback to the 2018 showcase performances of Twist and Turn, some songs were dropped and as well as re-working the script, Tony and Sandy have written 6 new songs for the musical during lockdown with the show being relaunched as a series of YouTube videos featuring graphics from the all new graphic novel of Twist and Turn being published in the autumn of 2021.
Is Twist and Turn a musical with a graphic novel or a graphic novel with music? Due to the impact of the pandemic in closing theatres, songs from the updated version of Twist and Turn will be released as an album in 2021 alongside publication of the graphic novel. A further stage version of the musical is on hold for the time being until theatres can fully re-open.
Tony Gibbs’ recent credits include 2 x co-writes on the UK #1 Country album ‘Nashville Heart’ by Ashton Lane, co-writing half the songs on the One Throw of the Dice album by West End composer Stuart Brayson, 2015 curator of the Isle of Man international TheatreFest festival of new work for the theatre, and producer of musicals King Pit starring UK X Factor superstar Joe McElderry, and Jimmy Mack starring Simon Gordon, lead in the London West End production of Bat Out of Hell.
Graeme Duffin has been an unofficial member of Wet Wet Wet since the band was formed, and still plays with them at live shows (prior to the pandemic) as well as having produced many of their hits.
Graeme is also to be found performing with his daughter and son-in-law (Esther and Tim O’Connor) in their band Ashton Lane, and has produced all of their studio albums including the UK #1 Country album ‘Nashville Heart’
Ashton Lane are husband and wife Esther O’Connor and Tim O’Connor with many successful albums to their name and (pre pandemic) a relentless touring schedule taking in most of the UK as well as Scandinavia, Germany and throughout Europe.
John Harley Weston won the Australian National Songwriting Contest in 2005 (rock category) with the song ‘Last Days Of Summer’. Since then he has received accolades from Unisong and Billboard World Songwriting Contests for songs on both his solo albums ‘Hope Harbour’ and ‘Welcome Back To Reality’. He was voted one of the best vocalists in the independent music world at Singeruniverse by heavyweight music publisher Dale Kawashima. John also held the number one spot for an entire 6 months on the Australian Indie Radio Charts with his humanitarian song ‘Brothers And Sisters’. John’s music was featured on Channel 9’s ‘The Voice’ (2012) and added to Channel 7’s Beijiing Olympics playlist (2008).
Donna Hazelton won ‘Musicality’ one of the first reality TV shows with the prize of performing as Mamma Morton in the hit West End show Chicago for six months. She has since enjoyed a hugely successful career in musical theatre and is well know throughout Scotland where she has played the lead in many top shows, most recently (just before lockdown) in Sunset Boulevard.
Erin Caldwell appeared in the original stage version of Twist and Turn – The Musical at The Other Palace theatre in London and has recorded several songs from the show to add to her impressive acting and musical theatre CV including a lead role in Jimmy Mack which was featured at the Isle of Man international TheatreFest festival.