The Twins Macabre: Small Mediums at Large
  • By Tom King
  • |
  • 7th Aug 2014
  • |
  • ★★★★

As Ethel Merman famously sang in Gypsy, ‘you gotta get a gimmick if you want to get ahead’. This is especially true of the Fringe where almost every performer needs an easily-recognisable persona to sell themselves effectively and really stand out.

Whether you’re laughing from amusement or out of shock, you’re still laughing

The Twins Macabre’s personas are those of Maurice and Ivy Macabre, child psychics raised in a circus and orphaned as a result of a tragic, fire-based ‘accident’. Having removed all adult influence from their lives, they now live together in their nursery-prison, a place that we the audience have been unlucky enough to stumble into.

The creepy Gothic-child schtick employed by the Twins is one that could potentially run a little stale if overexploited. But the seance theme of Small Medium at Large allows Carter and Rhys-Davies to stretch their dramatic legs and show off their range as they proceed to be inhabited by a variety of different characters. Unlike many other comedy shows, Small Mediums at Large features a range of different skills: from song, dance and acting to a truly unique piece of beatboxing from Maurice. My personal favourites were the accurately jaunty torch song My Husband Lost His Face in the War and the excellent Dislocation, Location, Location.

As you might expect from a show centred around two murderous moppets, the humour is dark. But what does come as a surprise is just how dark it is. Both flashbacks to the Twins’ dealings with figures of authority are convincingly grim, as is the seemingly-upbeat musical number Shady Oaks. After all, whether you’re laughing from amusement or out of shock, you’re still laughing. Only in one sketch does this darkness feel like it may have gone too far and even here, it is turned around at the last minute. Still, the close confines of Pleasance will have you feeling appropriately nervous - the perfect mood in which to watch the Macabres.

There are a few bum notes amongst the rapid-fire sketches, but overall Small Mediums at Large is a darkly-hilarious, nerve-jangling comedy rampage. Leave the sun behind and venture in. But please, don’t have any nightmares.

Reviews by Tom King


A Fortunate Man

Underbelly, Cowgate

The Cat's Mother

The Stand Comedy Club 3 & 4

Phill Jupitus: Sassy Knack

Traverse Theatre

Nigel Slater’s Toast

CanadaHub @ King's Hall in association with Summerhall

Famous Puppet Death Scenes

Assembly George Square Gardens

Jess Robinson: No Filter




The Blurb

Last seen on BBC3's Live at the Electric and after a run of sell-out seances across London, child psychics Maurice and Ivy Macabre are wanted by police following a string of horrific murders. Dare to witness the infamous siblings as they conjure the souls of the damned through twisted sketches and songs. A deliciously dark character comedy sideshow that will kill you... literally. Buy a ticket today or they'll cut you. 'Séancesational' (Daily Impale). 'Please! No, not my toes' (A man held at knife-point). @thetwinsmacabre