Sunday, July 16, 2023

Roald Dahl’s "The Twits." Adaptor Nelle Lee. Director Ross Baulbuziente. Creative Producer Nick Skubij. shake & stir theatre co.. The Q, Queanbeyan. July 13-15. Reviewed by Alanna Maclean

Kieren McGrath (Mr Twit) - Judy Hainsworth (Mrs Twit)

ONLY 55 minutes long, this vigorous and inventive stage version of Roald Dahl’s The Twits had the kids in fits out at the Q Theatre.  

It’s a gruesome tale of a gruesome couple whose habits, morality and personal hygiene leave much to be desired. The dynamics of their marriage are argumentative and they are brutal toward anything that crosses their path. 

Three lively circus performers, Maverick (Will Carseldine), Claudette (Billy Fogaarty) and Rex (Reagan Mannix), act as cheerful narrators and as a counterbalance to the Twits’ amoral nastinesses. Comeuppance does arrive but not before we’ve been grossed out by a range of the scatalogical and dietary events that Mr Twit (Kieran McGrath) and Mrs Twit (Judy Hainsworth) revel in. And it is amazing what might be found in a beard. Or what can be done with a glass eye.

The set is especially enjoyable in its old fashioned theatrical and circus elements and provides the perfect way to introduce young theatre goers to things like revolves and tabs and footlights. There’s lots of dark curtaining and elaborate lighting and silhouettes and bumps and bangs and things flying up to the ceiling (thanks to designer Josh McIntosh, lighting designer Jason Glenwright and sound designer Guy Webster). 

You might recall that shake & stir theatre darned near set fire to the stage a few years ago with a Jane Eyre adaptation that was full of alarming pyrotechnics. The Twits is not quite so incendiary but it has the right kind of bravery and lavishness for a Roald Dahl adaptation.