Review: THE TWITS at The PUMPHOUSE Theatre, Takapuna, Auckland

The production runs through 28 October.

By: Sep. 17, 2023
Review: THE TWITS at The PUMPHOUSE Theatre, Takapuna, Auckland

Full of trickery and mean tricks, but spinning a positive message to children about how to live your life with kindness – congratulations to Tim Bray for his ingenious adaptation and direction of this iconic story by Roald Dahl. Known as Auckland’s leading theatre for children and for creative interpretation, this is truly children’s theatre at its finest. Imaginatively told through the added role of the Gas Meter Reader, Terry Hooper,  and embellished with appealing soundtrack and original music by Marshall Smith, this is a clever script that definitely appeals to children aged 4 – 9 years.

This is the story of a married couple, Mr and Mrs Twit, who despise each other. Dylan Underwood and Martha Teleai bring superb physicalisation, vital vocal energy and an acrobatic pantomime style to these roles. Exquisite mime elements build tension such as the construction of a chair to make Mrs Twit think she’s shrinking, and the delightful worms from the garden to add to the spaghetti. The song “Shrinky Shrinky Blues”was a crowd favourite with the master stroke of singing clouds.

A Twit is, of course, the British slang for someone who is silly or foolish – and indeed, they are the epitome of stupidity, foolishness, spite and both hideously ugly.  But – an important lesson here – they are physically disgusting because their inner souls are awful. “Ugly thoughts show on your face.” The way they treat the Muggle-Wump is so mean – she has to hang upside down all day! The basic plot is the quest to be meaner than the other – but is there someone out there who can out-twit the Twits?

Yes, there is. Muggle Wump and Roly-Poly Bird! Delightful and engaging work from Jacinta Compton and Isabella Temm who bring a sense of physical fun, with the audience up and dancing to “The Muggle Wump Jive” and vibrant colour to the stage. The Roly-Poly Bird is a scene stealer and her bouncing tail feathers are not to be missed. Congratulations to the costume design team led by Vicki Slow. Talented supporting cast members Matilda Chua and Frankie Browne are effectively employed as various other characters (human and puppet) such as the British poshly accented Henrietta and Nigel, the birds who weren’t caught by the glue on the rocks.

As always a creative set (Rachael Walker) and artistic lighting (Steve Marshall) cement the entire invention of the narrative that unfolds with a sense of fantastical fun. The humour lasts to the very last gas meter moment.Karma comes to all of us.  I particularly appreciated the contribution of the NZ sign language interpreter Kelly Hodgins at the side of the stage (Platform Interpreting NZ Ltd.) ensuring that everyone could follow the narrative.

The production runs from 16 September til 28 October in Auckland, in four locations: Takapuna, Manukau, Mangere and Glen Innes. Take the children along! Tickets sell quickly so don’t miss out. The play encourages us to treat others with love and kindness – and  if you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like shafts of sunlight.

Tickets are very reasonably priced - available at the link below.


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From This Author - Glenda Pearce

Glenda Pearce is a highly experienced public speaking specialist # dynamic speaking #bodyworks #body communication # effective communication .  She  facilitates the development of confident,... Glenda Pearce">(read more about this author)


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