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Review: THE TWITS by Shake & Stir

Touring to a city near you.

We all know the story of Roald Dahl's The Twits, a couple who is gruesome, grotesque and menacingly maggoty. It's a story you would have had your parents read to you before you went to bed and it's the story you're probably reading to you kids right now. Shake & stir has leveraged this cross-generational appeal and created a modern adaptation of the show that is high-energy, dazzling and fun for the whole family.

Review: THE TWITS by Shake & Stir

From the preshow soundtrack including Tones and I's Dance Monkey, Calvin Harris' Bounce, and Britney Spears' Circus, we are transported into a world of play in which anything is possible and the word impossible does not exist.

Written by Nelle Lee, this production captures the same manic, magical Roald Dahl tropes and surrealism through having our show's narrators being circus performers - Maverick the magician (Darcy Brown), Claudette the contortionist (Ellen Bailey) and Rex the strongest strongman of them all (Johnny Balbuziente) who spun us around in circles, via a revolving stage floor, taking us from one page of the narrative to the next. Our three guides move at lightning speeds, moving with such poise and specificity with dynamic comic timing like they are illustrations in a pop up storybook. Our narrators transitions from one character to the next in such a seamless fashion that it is treat to watch.

Nelle Lee (Mrs Twit) and Leon Cain (Mr Twit) are the most fun to watch on stage. From the minute we meet them to their last lines, we believe they are their characters and we get immersed in their Dahlian world. The way these actors compliment each other's grotesque characters and comical attributes is *chefs kiss*. Never was there been a more dynamic married couple on stage. As we watch their tricks on each other play out, the story that we all love come back to us and we find ourselves even more invested in how each trick will unfold on stage.

Some highlights from director Ross Balbuziente's direction include Mrs Twit's faux TV segment Cooking with Heather and Mr Twit's segment Toolman with Twit; which created an intergenerational appeal between parents and children; young and old. Another highlight was the use of toilet humour as a recurring characterisation tool for Mr Twit.

What I love about shake & stir's productions is that all creative disciplines compliment each other. From desginer Josh McIntosh's elaborate revolver and extraordinary, versatile set pieces and bright costumes, to Jason Glenwright's lighting design which transforms the Cremorne Theatre into a circus tent to Guy Websters sound design which was a booming and in your face as the characters themselves... They all combined to form a perfect piece of theatre for young audiences.

shake & stirs' The Twits is sure to nourish all of the senses. Both a visual and aural feast, you and your child do not want to miss this remarkable new piece of theatre for young people.

Rating: 5 Stars

Photography by David Fell

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