Saturday, July 15, 2023



The Twits 

Adapted by Nelle Lee from the story by Roald Dahl with illustrations by Quentin Blake. Directed by Ross Balbuziente. Creative Producer.  Nick Skubij. Designer Josh McIntosh. Lighting designer. Jason Glenwright. Sound designer. Guy Webster. Cast: Will Carseldine, Billy Fogarty, Reagan Mannix, Kieran McGrath and Judy Hainsworth. Shake & Stir. The Q. Queanbeyan-Palerang Performing Arts Centre. July 13-15 2023. Bookings. 6285 6290.

Reviewed by Peter Wilkins


They’re disgusting. They’re dastardly and dreadfully mean. They’re ghastly and grotesque and gruesomely gross. They are of course The Twits, that miserably mean and nasty husband and wife team, he with the bushy beard of food scraps and she with the cackle  and the glass eye. When you visit the theatre to see Shake ‘n Stir’s production of The Twits, you might well know what to expect.- lavatory humour full of farts and visits to the dunny or flying insults and a recipe of worms and yukky ingredients.. There’s no real need to tell the story, however ghastly and gory, because most of the audience have read Roald Dahl’s story of the ugly pair, outside and in.

What the audience won’t be prepared for is the brilliantly staged production, set in a circus Big Top with a canopy of lights festooned over the auditorium and whizzbang effects on stage that turn Dahl’s story and Quentin Blake’s illustrations into a colourful circus sideshow that for an hour keeps the young audience and the Mums and Dads and Grans glued to the horrible antics of the hideous pair. The audience is welcomed to the show by Maverick the Magician who introduces Claudette the Contortionist and Rex the Strong Man who narrate at times and take on the roles of the upside down Mugglewump monkeys, the birds with fan wings and the Roly Poly Bird.

 Following on from their triumphant production of Roald Dahl’s Revolting rhymes and Dirty Deeds, the creative team of Shake & Stir have once again come up with a smash hit at The Q for a short season before continuing on their National Tour. The production is colourful, tight, wildly energetic and jam-packed with humour and clever stage business. We watch in wonder as Mrs Twit levitates and delight in the effects of the Deadly Shrink Disease as Mr and Mrs get their just desserts. Dahl is the master magician of surprise, always ready to reveal the unexpected that keeps the Twits stuck upside down. Shake & Stir ‘s clever use of silhouette, puppetry and physical theatre conjure an adaptation that holds the audience rapt for an hour and brings to life one of Roald Dahl’s beloved and zany stories.

But like all Roald Dahl stories there are lessons for the very young to learn. Dahl the arch cynic (People are meanest to the people they’re married to) and Dahl the wise moralist (A person who thinks ugly thoughts will always be ugly. A person who thinks good thoughts will never be ugly no matter what their physical appearance) They are lessons that Shake & Stir highlight to perfection in this marvellous Big Top production. If it comes your way, be sure to catch it while you can. You’ll laugh, you’ll groan and you’ll have a roly poly good time.