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A reviews round-up for The Twits at the Royal Court Theatre

“Mischievously adapted” by acclaimed writer Enda Walsh, The Twits promised to bring a revolting revolution to the Royal Court stage: it seems the critics are not convinced.

The Twits is directed by John Tiffany. Steven Hoggett is associate director and movement director, Martin Lowe is the composer and musical supervisor, design is by Chloe Lamford, lighting by Philip Gladwell and sound by Gregory Clarke.

STORY

Mr and Mrs Twit are not very nice. In fact they’re extremely nasty. They’re nasty to each other, and they’re VILE to everyone else. They hold a family of monkeys hostage in a cage and force them to stand on their heads. ALL THE TIME. We told you they weren’t very nice. Can the monkeys find a way to show those vicious Twits what for?

CAST

Jason Watkins and Monica Dolan  play Mr and Mrs Twit, Sam Cox plays Yorkshire Terrier Man, Cait Davis  plays Monkey Mum, Aimée-Ffion Edwards  plays Monkey Daughter, Christine Entwisle  plays Tattooed Fortune Teller Lady, Oliver Llewellyn-Jenkins  plays Monkey Son, Glyn Pritchard  plays Monkey Father and Dwane Walcott  plays Shy Waltzer Boy.

REVIEWS ROUND-UP

STAR RATING The Guardian

“Roald Dahl’s The Twits is filled with comic grotesquerie but is a bit light on plot. Enda Walsh, who has “mischievously adapted” the book, has had to devise a story to make an evening in the theatre. The result, while vivaciously staged and clearly appealing to a young audience, often feels a touch tortuous, as if Dahl’s taste for bizarre fantasy has been overlaid by Walsh’s own gothic imagination.” “Enda Walsh has invented a new cast of fairground misfits to stretch Dahl’s tale for the stage, but the titular couple are still the funniest thing in this anarchic farce” “John Tiffany’s production conveys a sense of barely controlled anarchy. Chloe Lamford’s design, which gives the impression one is viewing the action through an oval-shaped porthole and which boasts a climactic visual coup, is characteristically ingenious.”  “It is all very jolly, if a bit strenuous.”

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STAR RATING The Daily Telegraph

“Enda Walsh has achieved the impossible and made Roald Dahl dull” “Irishman Walsh makes a barely digestible meal of the source material.” “Walsh’s embellishments, however, go off at a peculiar, rather depressing tangent, albeit in keeping with his fondness for incarcerating, purgatorial environments.” “Whenever Monica Dolan and Jason Watkins spring about in double-act mode, she fang-toothed, wild-haired and glinting with vicious glee, he grandiose, grubby-bearded, paunchy and Punch-like fond of whacking her in the face with a frying pan, the mischief-level soars. But the drag-factor of the encumbering conceit is considerable.”  “The caged simians aren’t the only ones relishing their new-found freedom at the end. Who’d have thought Dahl could be made so dull?”

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STAR RATING The Independent

“With the lucrative successes of Matilda the Musical and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory still going strong in the West End, you might have thought that jumping on the Roald Dahl bandwagon was a relatively risk-free exercise for a theatre. The Royal Court’s new stage version of The Twits, has the dubious distinction of being the first show to destroy that illusion.” “The emphasis on back story is wordy, unwieldy and confusing for a young audience who have to get the hang of monkey-impersonations of crucial, not especially easy-to-follow events in the past.” “John Tiffany’s production works hard to keep the distinctions crisp and comic but you’re still often left with doubts about who this show (officially recommended for age 8-plus) in being aimed at.”

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STAR RATING Evening Standard

“ Enda Walsh’s adaptation is faithful to the anarchic spirit of Dahl’s original. It’s dark and strange, sometimes cruel and often very silly.  But despite Walsh’s embellishments, it resembles a series of pranks rather than developing into an absorbing and coherent story.”

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STAR RATING The Stage

“A dark, strangely playful, often downright bizarre, reworking of Roald Dahl’s novel”

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