By Laura Money
Spare Parts Puppet Theatre are back in their refurbished home in Fremantle and are bringing you the razztwizzling wonderful show Roald Dahl’s The Twits. Based on the clever and hilarious book by acclaimed children’s author, Roald Dahl, The Twits tells the story of the ugly and horrible old couple – Mr and Mrs Twit – who terrorise the local bird population and each other in a series of horrendous pranks and capers that ultimately lead to a rather sticky end.
Director, Michael Barlow: “Mr and Mrs Twit are terrible people but very funny characters and it’s so satisfying seeing Muggle-Wump the Monkey and the Roly-Poly Bird outwit them. Roald Dahl has a special gift for making fun of adults who treat children unfairly and our heroes can only win by breaking the rules and playing a few tricks of their own. As laugh-out-loud entertaining as The Twits is, it is a great show for encouraging us all to think about how we treat each other.”
Performers Jessica Harlond-Kenny and Geordie Crawley are truly wonderful performers of children’s theatre. Their witty banter and over-the-top physical movements are the perfect for gaining giggles and gasps from all the children in the crowd. They put so much into the silly and frankly, ugly Twits – from farcical trumpeting to menacing laughter. Crawley’s hilarious accent is at its peak when gleefully singing the bird pie song and Harlond-Kenny has such nuanced and emotional facial expression as Muggle-Wump the monkey, that one could be forgiven for not noticing the puppet.
The puppetry is outstanding – Mr and Mrs Twit’s masks are intricate and dynamic. The design is quite urban and reminiscent of a Picasso portrait, without any of its beauty. Crawley and Harlond-Kenny manipulate the masks in a way that is playful and exaggerated – using their bodies for the close up scenes and the funny little puppet-bodies that dangle beneath the masks for when they are far away. Muggle-Wump the monkey is a classic puppet with articulated wooden tail and squeaky body, and the Roly-Poly bird is just charming in its simple design. Consisting only of two parts, Crawley really out does himself flouncing around as the haughty bird.
Spare Parts Puppet Theatre have a well-deserved reputation for bringing intelligent and emotionally responsible works to children who are encouraged to engage in large political and social ideas. Roald Dahl’s The Twits is the perfect vehicle to elicit empathy and a feeling of social justice. The characters are horrible – they really represent the worst of humanity – they exploit animals, cruelly trap birds for food, are genuinely nasty to each other, and even hate children! The brave actions of Muggle-Wump and the Roly-Poly bird highlight to children that anyone can stand up for what they believe in, and might even inspire them to do so.
The Twits is a ringbeller adventure of scrottiness and goodness, rebellion and justice. The show’s gloriumptious blend of comedy and puppetry is the perfect way to have a whoopsy wiffling time this summer with the whole family.
WHEN: 8 – 27 January 2018 | Various times
WHERE: Spare Parts Puppet Theatre | Fremantle
INFO: Tickets $23 – $25 | Duration 50 mins | Perfect for ages 5+ | Q&A after each show