The Twits

Published April 15, 2015

What’s it all about?

Think of the two most repulsive people you can – Katie Hopkins and John McCririck, am I right? – now treble their vileness. These are The Twits, a horrendous husband and wife who spend life tormenting each other.

But here the creations of Roald Dahl have been morphed by playwright Enda Walsh. They’re still as hideous a proposition as marmite-flavoured ice-cream, but now they’ve stolen a fairground and have tricked its previous owners into becoming ‘long-term guests’ at Chez Twit, giving them a greater pool of torture subjects than each other and their enslaved monkeys, the Muggle-Wumps.

Who’s in it?

The always brilliant Jason Watkins and Monica Dolan are horrible as the shower-dodging central pairing; Watkins looking a little like Antony Worrall Thompson after a wilderness away day gone wrong and Dolan sporting teeth last seen on the Grand National winner. I obviously mean horrible as a compliment. There’s not a hint of sympathy in these Twits.

Cait Davis, Aimée-Ffion Edwards, Oliver Llewellyn-Jenkins and Glyn Pritchard make for an endearing bunch of bizarrely Welsh simians, aided in their transformation by the movement work of Steven Hoggett.

What should I look out for?

Chloe Lamford’s stunning set, which has the audience peering through a porthole of sorts into the world of the Twits. It’s a world, by the way, that with its caravan, woodland and funfair, bears a certain resemblance to former Royal Court hit Jerusalem, though I think Mr Twit’s spaghetti trumps Rooster’s raw egg breakfast cocktail.

The gruesomely pleasing climax to the show that finishes the Twits’ story in a suitably flamboyant and disturbing fashion.

The least festive depiction of Christmas you’re ever likely to see.

In a nutshell?

Just when you think Roald Dahl can’t get any darker in his drama, the Royal Court proves anything’s possible.

What’s being said on Twitter?

@jackthorne #TheTwits at the @royalcourt is like something from the head of a hungover giant chasing a wasp. I think Dahl would have loved it. I did.

@thegarethmclean #TheTwits @royalcourt is terrific. Exuberant, glorious, riotous, hilarious, mischievous, lyrical, beautiful, theatrical, brilliant.

Will I like it?

If you like your family drama as dark as a spaceman’s pocket. Painted black. And if you like it as bizarre as an analogy about a painted pocket. Yes, you may well love it. If the idea of Dahl’s most repulsive creations being given a class divide overhaul has you chortling like a child in a joke shop, then absolutely. If, however, you think Christmas Carols sung at gunpoint is a bit much for your nippers, if you need a little joy to lift the revulsion or if you’re a Dahl purist, maybe head to Matilda The Musical.

The Twits plays at the Royal Court until 31 May. You can book tickets through the theatre’s website.

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