With very naughty characters and even more mischievous plotlines, there is a reason Roald Dahl is one of the best-loved children’s writers. They don't come much naughtier than The Twits, with their visually revolting appearance, smelly beards and loud belches. In this energetic stage adaption by David Wood, Incognito Theatre Company present the story of Mr and Mrs Twit who live in a grotty caravan and persistently attempt to outwit each other by playing nasty and increasingly frenzied tricks. An idea occurs to Mr Twit that he could earn a living by training monkeys to perform upside down in his very own circus. This incites a journey to Africa to capture the Muggle-wump monkey family and the story follows their attempts, with the help of Roly Poly Bird, to escape the despicable Twits.
The actors’ ability to work intuitively together, coupled with their enthusiasm, really brought this performance to life. Filled with caricature type characters, comedy timing and slapstick humour, this production retained the key elements of theatre, whilst engaging its target audience, children. Participation is central to this adaptation, something that definitely appealed to younger members of the audience. The inventive use of props was used to maximum effect and contributed to the audience participation, with the children asked every so often to look under their chair for certain items. With appropriate farcical music such as The Pink Panther and Benny Hill, these cartoonish incidentals built upon the Twits’ loopy behaviour.
This short and sweet production is ultimately very enjoyable and is highly recommended for all pre-teen children. The bright costumes, use of props, talking animal characters and ugly baddies appeal to kids and is a great way to introduce them to the diversity of theatre on offer at the Edinburgh Fringe.