Quentin Tarantino’s iconic 1992 movie Reservoir Dogs is being brought to the stage in an exclusive adaptation by Woking Youth Theatre (WYT) at the Buzz Theatre in Woking.

Bruce Hazelton, WYT chairman and director of the show, was given special permission from Tarantino’s lawyers to adapt the movie into a theatre production.

“I had long thought the film would make a great stage show as it is mainly set in one location,” he said. “It’s not available as a stage version so I first contacted Tarantino’s team in 2019 and asked ‘Can we do this?’.

“In principle they said yes, however, Covid hit and it was parked temporarily. I approached them again earlier this year and approval was given to go ahead.”

Reservoir Dogs is the story of a group of thieves whose armed robbery of a jewellery store goes violently wrong when they are ambushed by the police. 

At their warehouse rendezvous, the surviving criminals begin to suspect they were set up and that one of them is an undercover cop.

The main characters are introduced at breakfast in a diner before the robbery. The action then jumps to the aftermath of the failed heist with flashbacks introducing the criminals and their planning of the crime.

“To adapt it to the stage, minor changes have been made,” added Bruce. “We haven’t changed the script too much, it’s around 95 per cent of the original. Some car scenes had to be replaced because it just can’t be done so they were relocated.”

The staging has been a challenge with a lot of thought given to making the scene changes as slick as possible to keep the feeling of the film. 

Bruce has also developed in association with armourer, Nomad Traveller, some innovative technology for the guns to create realistic gun shots.

He explained: “The automatic pistols we initially tried were too loud. The guns we use have transmitters in them so when the actor pulls the trigger, a gunshot sound is played through the speakers at the same time.”

The action is set against a great soundtrack of pop-rock songs from the 1970s.

Bruce said: “The show is principally cast from our adult members who are all extremely excited to be part of this exclusive staging of such a classic film and are rising to the occasion with fantastic, strong performances.”

Bruce is no stranger to obtaining special permission to stage classic films. For WYT’s 2019 entry into the Woking Drama Festival, he received exclusive permission to adapt the classic 1980s coming of age film The Breakfast Club from the estate of John Hughes who wrote, produced and directed the movie.

Woking Youth Theatre was originally founded in 1983 by David Hawksworth. It won numerous drama-festival awards including second place in the National Youth Finals in 1992. The group continued until 2005 when David became ill. He died in 2015.

Bruce’s passion to relaunch Woking Youth Theatre and give the young people of Woking the same opportunities he had been given as a member was realised in 2019 and its first workshop was held in March of that year. 

Nearly five years on, the opportunities the current members have been given have been fantastic. From their first musical, Little Shop of Horrors, to Bugsy Malone and Alice in Wonderland, three film projects acted and crewed entirely by the members, and seven Woking Drama Festival entries, including The Breakfast Club, Cagebirds and Hamlet, they are still going strong.

Bruce added: “This inclusive theatre group draws together young people from a wide range of local schools and colleges. It encourages collaboration between members of all ages with the younger cast learning from the more experienced, older performers.”

Reservoir Dogs will be at the Buzz Theatre, Woking, from Tuesday, November 7 to Saturday, November 11. Tickets cost £12.50 for students and £15 for adults. The production includes frequent strong language and swearing, violence, gun shots and smoking. Tickets can be bought from https://www.ticketsource.co.uk

Reservoir Dogs cast: Mr White – Luke Duncan, Mr Pink – Henry Gannon, Mr Orange – Lettie Hazelton, Mr Blonde – Alex Hazelton, Mr Brown – Jove Morrison, Mr Blue – Luke Turner, Nice Guy Eddie – Tom Bray, Joe Cabot – Tom Duff, Nash – Freddie Austin, LA County Sheriffs – Jenny Rudrum and Noah Portsmouth, and Teddy – Finley Batson.