Woman dressed in fairy tale costume
August 19, Calendar, Children, Performing arts, Theatre

Theatre: Children: Revolting Rhymes & Dirty Beasts

13 – 16 August @ The State Theatre Centre of Western Australia ·
Presented by Shake & Stir ·

Think you know the stories of The Three Little Pigs, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Goldilocks and Jack and the Beanstalk? Think again! Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes & Dirty Beasts bursts off the page in a spectacular live show, taking the world’s best-­loved fairy tales and rearranging them with some surprising and hilarious twists.

Seriously funny and frighteningly silly, Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes & Dirty Beasts is the perfect family entertainment especially for children 5 to 25, that’s sure to delight and disgust in equal measure.

Making their 3rd visit to Perth the multi Helpmann Award winning team at shake & stir have adapted the works of Roald Dahl to fit a 55 mins format which will have the kids and adults squirming with delight!

Tuesday 13 August at 10am, 1pm & 6pm
Wednesday 14 August  at 10am, 1pm & 6:30pm
Thursday 15 August at 10am & 6:30pm
Friday 16 August at 10am, 4:30pm & 6:30pm

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Children, News, Performing arts, Reviews, Theatre

Pared down & Picasso-esque

Review: The Twits – Spare Parts Puppet Theatre ◆
Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, 6 December ◆
Review by Varnya Bromilow ◆

Recreating a beloved children’s book can be, well, fraught.  Not only do you have to deal with the bald candour of kids, there’s also the fierce nostalgia of grown-up children to confront.  And so it is with Spare Parts Puppet Theatre’s new incarnation of Roald Dahl’s The Twits.  This convoluted and very funny tale has been distilled into a one-hour show by actor and writer, Humphrey Bower, assisted by director Michael Barlow.  It is a big ask.

If you’re not familiar, The Twits tells the story of Mr and Mrs Twit, a revolting, twisted couple who enjoy a life punctuated by pranks.  United by their malice, this husband and wife seek to scare, disgust and horrify each other on a daily basis.  Spare Parts chooses to let the narrative do the heavy-lifting in this two-hander, utilising a spartan set and a surprisingly restrained use of puppets.  The Twits are represented by two gaudy, paper-mache creations (created by Leon Hendroff) their features chaotically adrift on their faces.  It’s the first of several unusual choices – the characters in the book are pointedly hideous, which one would think is fertile ground for a puppet-maker, but these representations are more Picasso-esque than ugly.  Part of the sneaky delight of The Twits is surely marvelling at the abhorrence of the protagonists (both inner and outer), but here we’re deprived of that guilty pleasure.  Is this a response to the mean-spirited text that equates ugliness with nastiness, or is it a puppet-maker’s desire to present something less literal?

The actors sporting these masks – Jessica Harlond-Kenny and Geordie Crawley – make fine fodder out of the pared-down script.  Crawley is particularly good, revelling in the stinky misanthropy of his character; his loose-limbed physicality a fitting vehicle for the flatulent contortions of Mr Twit.  In such a spare set, with minimal puppetry, the task of bringing the script to life falls entirely to these two actors.  They do an admirable job, but ultimately this adaptation seems hurried and oddly repetitive.  Much of Dahl’s fabulous gibberish is left out, likely to keep the show to an hour, but it means that the final effect is an abbreviated experience, largely devoid of the nonsensical flourishes that make the book such a riot.  As the young fans I went with later explained… “it just wasn’t as funny as the book.”  A big ask, to be sure.

The Twits plays Spare Parts Puppet Theatre in Fremantle, Jan 8-27.

Photo: J. Wyld

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