REVIEW: DINNER AT THE TWITS (The Vaults) ★★★★
2016 marks one hundred years since the birth of Roald Dahl, possibly our greatest storyteller since Shakespeare and a genius in telling tales that appeal not only to children, but to grown-ups too. The immersive theatre specialists, Les Enfants Terribles, are celebrating this auspicious year with an edible experience in the shape of ‘Dinner at The Twits’: their vision of Dahl’s gruesomely grotesque union.
Upon arrival at the ever more hip subterranean venue that is The Vaults, guests are ushered to the vile couple’s lounge, where you can enjoy a ‘Dark and Stormy Mugglewump’, amongst other unusual cocktail delights. A talking monkey then invites us into The Twits’ eerie garden, where a Sting and Tonic is thrust into my hand before we are encouraged to forage in the undergrowth for edible worms , burnt sausage and battered pigeon to name but a few. The theatre properly then begins, with the Twits welcoming us to the renewal of their ‘sacred’ wedding vows.
I don’t want to ruin the story for ‘guests’, but I can promise pretty good wedding fayre, from a Gamey Bird Pie (complete with whole chicken foot), crisp potatoes and crunchy coleslaw, fettered with insects! Add into the mix kidnap, an escape plot and a giant bird and you’re certainly in for a dinner party quite unlike any other!
The production could be a little slicker in terms of the story telling and the dialogue feels just a little stilted at times but the concept wins the day. It’s clear that food curators Bompas and Parr have put lot of thought into how the menu we enjoyed ties in to the dirty duos culinary tastes.
The detail with which the Twits’ world has been explored and realised is also impressive – the designer, Samuel Wyer, has gone all out!
The gruesome twosome themselves are well summoned by Chris Barlow and Lizzy Dive, who look absolutely disgusting and behave not much better. ‘Dinner at The Twits’ is certainly an enjoyable and unusual way to spend an evening, even if you go alone as I did: the spectacle of it all will definitely get you talking to your neighbours. One piece of advice: avoid the Bloodied Hearts!
Reviewed by Jody Tranter
Photo: Addie Chinn