The Twits Photo: Pamela Raith Photography

The Twits Photo: Pamela Raith Photography

The Twits

Liverpool Playhouse


Peter Grant

When the audience are asked to take their shoes off and put them on their hands and wave them up in the air you know that you are deep in inter-active theatre land.

Add the imagination of Roald Dahl and you know it’s going to be quite an experience.

He was born 100 years ago yet his legacy lives on in such wonderful timeless creations.

His books make for great adaptations on stage and screen. From Matilda to James and the Giant Peach to Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory and, of course, The Big Friendly Giant.

I only became aware of Mr D during my teenage years when I was glued to the TV series Tales of the Unexpected. He never disappointed with his twists and turns.

Now I have read all his works and even been to his house where I saw the famous shed where he wrote his masterpieces.

A gentle surrounding for an enigmatic man who created such unusual characters from the sublime to the ridculous.

They certainly don’t come any odder than The Twits.

A truly horrible married couple who are the seedy stars of this production – ideally suited for any mid-term break.

The youngsters shouting and singing and boo-ing along was essential for the atmosphere.

It would have been like a football match without a crowd if the junior adults had not been keen to take part in this vibrant version.

The Twits live in a caravan trailer – here a huge container crate. The walls collapse to reveal Mr Twit on the toilet. It’s all down hill after that – edible frogs and worms are on the household menu.

The Twits remind me of Harry Enfield’s TV Slobs, cartoonesque – but this pair are even more grotesque, grisly and ghastly.

The programme notes help us with the back story. “Mr Twit was born a twit.  And now at the age of 60 he was a bigger twit than ever. Mrs Twit is equally as foul and she hates Mr Twit just as much as Mr Twit hates her.”

There. That establishes the terrifying twosome.

They play un-jolly japes and jokes on each other and are quite keen on bouts of violence.

He has a beer belly from hell while she thinks nothing of putting her false eye in his ale.

When they run out of money he decides to form a circus using monkeys stolen from a rain forest.

The crude husband and very ugly wife then taunt the  creatures called the Muggle Wumps. They are played by four excellent actors, musicians and stunning acrobats.

The Roly Poly Bird, sporting a colourful, plumage coat is played on stilts by Jack Horner. He is a real hit with the kids and the mums and dads urging us to topple the Twits.

Running at under two hours- including an interval –  it is pure madcap fun from start to frenetic finish.

Mr Twit (Robert Pickavance) sporting deeply offensive under-garments and his loud, objectionable wife (Jo Mousley) in leopard-skin leotards are compulsive viewing throughout. When they sport huge water pistols – the audience lap up the attack.

He has a beard. Dahl hated facial hair and so any males in the audience wearing one were suitably picked upon.

Directed by Max Webster, who worked on The Lorax at the Old Vic, this smashing production is a roller coaster of deftly-crafted daftness.

It is a popular joint venture by the Curve and Rose Theatre in Kingston and adapted by David Wood who stays true to the master wordsmith’s wonderful imagery.

Yes, truly Gory – ious.


Roald Gold.

(4 / 5)

Until Saturday Feb 25

0151 709 4776

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