adapted by David Wood
An Grianán Theatre Production
‘Imaginative and good- spirited, this show charmed the socks- and boots- off me.’ Sunday Tribune 2002
The Twits are a miserable old couple, they hate each other almost as much as they hate everybody else. They are revolting! Smelly, nasty, but very funny. They like playing tricks on each other almost as much as they like eating bird pie and making monkeys do tricks. Can the Roly Poly Bird and the Muggle-Wump monkeys ever get their revenge on the horrible Twits?
Mr Twit – Paddy Jenkins
Mrs Twit – Gene Rooney
Roly Poly Bird – Andrew McNulty
Papa Muggle-Wump – Emmett Scanlon
Mama Muggle-Wump – Phoebe Flint
Baby Muggle-Wump – Conan Sweeney
Baby Muggle-Wump – Rachael Devir
Director – Myles Breen
Lighting Designer – Niall Cranney
Set & Sound Design – Guy Barriscale
Costumes – Deirdre McGinley Ramsay
Stage Manager – Maeve Sweeney
An Grianan Theatre
27 Nov to 21 Dec 2002
Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire
26 Dec 2002 to 12 Jan 2003
An Grianán Theatre
Roald Dahl, as any rapt 10- year-old will tell you, is the children’s author par excellence. Usually, however, he comes in book form. But An Grianán theatre has taken one of his classics, The Twits, and transformed it into a wonderful Christmas show. Adapted by David Wood and directed by Myles Breen, the stage version tells the story of that rather nasty pair, whose only pleasure in life is making each other, and everyone else, as miserable as possible.
Incorporating elements of slapstick and pastiche Mr and Mrs Twit travel to deepest Africa to capture a family of monkeys, the Mugglewumps, for a circus they plan to set up.
The Mugglewumps are, predictably, miserable in captivity. With the help, and of course active connivance, of the enthusiastic audience, the Mugglewumps manage to escape, and all live happily ever after – except of course The Twits, who end up glued to the floor in a humorous inversion of the nasty tricks they forced upon the monkey family.
Transitions from page to stage are notoriously difficult, especially when the original is such a well-loved classic. However, this one really worked. Paddy Jenkins and Gene Rooney give ace performances in lead, incorporating elements of slapstick and physical theatre. The kids just loved them. The Mugglewump family were also totally convincing, and their monkeying around had the children agog.
An Grianán boasts a huge stage, and this – plus the amphitheatre itself – was employed to full effect, with monkeys running amock trying to hide from the resolute, and ridiculous, Mr Twit the monkeyhunter. This was accompanied by a vivid musical score, dramatic and transporting, conjuring up the sounds of the jungle. The soundtrack, by Guy Barriscale, was a crucial element in the success of the show – all the wonders of modern sound technology were employed to create an atmospheric, powerful effect.
The set, the work of the same maestro, was colourful and engaging, with a few nice touches, like the paintings of the Mona Lisa and Munch’s The Scream, to engage the attention of the adults present.
The show, which runs until Saturday in An Grianán, moves to The Pavillion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire after Christmas.
Mary Phelan, Irish Times, Dec 2002