Twonkey's Christmas in the Jungle

Twonkey is lost in the jungle. His agent, Mr Pines, has sent him to the Iquitos Fringe deep in the Peruvian Jungle but, unfortunately for Twonkey and his ever-present sidekick, Chris, there isn’t actually an Iquitos Fringe.

Twonkey doesn’t need to conform to our preconceptions of theatre

Now I’m going to open this review with a caveat; this show may seem like it makes little sense but that’s because Twonkey’s Christmas in the Jungle is by far the barmiest, most original show on the Fringe. If you like your comedy surreal, Twonkey might still be a bit too weird for you. There’s old classics like the Psychic Ship’s Wheel of Knickers, used to divine audience members’ sexual history, there’s a song about Santa Claus eating human flesh and there’s even a literal narrative thread (more on that later).

Paul Vickers, the man behind Twonkey, has a keen comedy mind and a flair for the absurd. He dodders about on stage giving the impression that he’s making this up as he goes along but, having seen his previous work, it’s clear that everything is fitting to a plan. The plan might be written in green crayon on the side of teapot but Vickers, at least, knows what he’s doing. As with any Twonkey show, the regular appearances by varied puppets is a highlight; most are a mix of cute and terrifying, and each has a backstory and, often, a song. A perfect moment occurs when Twonkey introduces Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf who bemoan the lack of any real structure in the show and how the critics will never understand what he’s trying to achieve. Way to hang a lamp on it, Twonkey.

As for the narrative thread, it is a regular criticism of Vicker’s work that his shows lack this; so, this show has one. It’s tied around his waist and, by the end of the show, it almost strangles him. Twonkey doesn’t need to conform to our preconceptions of theatre, he’s created his own world and he’d love for us all to join him there.

Reviews by Frodo Allan

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★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Winner of the 2016 Malcolm Hardee Award for Comic Originality. 'Mr. Twonkey’s blood type is joy and I am delighted to say he is highly infectious' (Copstick, Scotsman). 'Dark, demented, slaps you from all sides' ***** (Stage). His manager Mr Pines has sent Twonkey to the Iquitos Fringe deep in the hallucinogenic Peruvian jungle over Christmas. Will he survive? 'The thing is: it's brilliant' **** (BroadwayBaby.com). Imagine if Malcolm McLaren had directed Rupert the Bear, drunk, making it into an oddball curiosity set in a haunted theme park and you’re somewhere close.

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