The Twits – Royal Court Theatre
Roald Dahl has been lighting up the lives of children for many years, with his beloved books about big friendly giants, marvellous medicine and giant peaches. The last few years have seen his work transported onto the West End stage with smash hit musicals Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory playing to full houses every night. So it seems perfect timing for the Royal Court Theatre to stage Edna Walsh’s adapted story of The Twits and see if the West End can have a Roald Dahl hat trick!
The Twits tells the story of two filthy no-good pranksters (Mr and Mrs Twit) who constantly play tricks on each other (putting worms in the spaghetti and gluing extensions onto the end of walking sticks, to give the appearance of shrinking). It seems the be the couples hatred for each other that bonds them together. Years ago, the mischievous couple stole a fairground from its owners and have been hiding it on their property. One day, in a moment or boredom, The Twits decide to lure the previous owners into a trap of thinking they are being given their property back, so they can have some fun with them. Using the monkey family they have held in captivity to act out a play demonstrating what really happened when they stole the fairground, the visitors secrets are unearthed. Will they succumb to The Twits bullying antics or will they find a way to get their own back on them and turn their filthy world upside down?
Sometimes when you walk into a theatre and look at the set, you sit down and have that feeling of ‘this is going to be good’. Sometimes you’re wrong but a good set design can be the good first impression you need when you see a show. Chloe Lamford has done an amazing job with the design of the show. It is a feast for the eyes to look at and has all the colour and details needed to keep adults and children entertained.
Monica Dolan and Jason Watkins are a powerhouse character couple as Mr and Mrs Twit. Reminiscent of The Thenadiers in Les Miserables, they bounce around the stage like 1960’s Mods. Even though they are the horrible ones in the story, they have enough likeable qualities to make you think maybe they are misunderstood and with some Jeremy Kyle style therapy, perhaps they could be nice people. The monkey family are great to watch, with comedy jokes about monkeying around galore. Monkey Daughter (Aimee-Ffion Edwards) and Monkey Son (Oliver Llewellyn-Jenkins) are the stronger of the two characters but all four work together in a tight space to represent the animals well. The Tattooed Fortune Teller Lady (Christine Entwisle) carries herself well in the role although her character representation is so similar to Mrs Wormwood from Matilda that it is a little distracting.
The Twits is a well put together, fun show that will keep the family entertained. The story is not quite as powerful as it could be but the performances and set design help to glaze over the cracks. With tickets ranging from £10-£35 this show is a no-brainer if you want to see a great show and not have to pay top West End prices for it.
Reviewed by West End Wilma
Photo: Tristram Kenton
The Twits is playing at the Royal Court Theatre until 31 May 2015. Click here for tickets