The Twits

Q Theatre, 305 Queen St, Auckland

02/12/2011 - 18/12/2011

Production Details

They’re shocking! They’re smelly! They’re stupefyingly stupid!

“Mr Twit was a twit. He was born a twit. And now at the age of sixty, he is a bigger twit than ever.” 

Mr and Mrs Twit are a wonderfully revolting couple who delight in playing nasty tricks on one another. With devilish and devious cunning they amuse themselves training their pet monkeys to be part of their dream upside-down Monkey Circus and hatch plans for catching birds to stuff into an enormous Bird Pie.

Will the monkeys escape? The birds fly free? Come and see, be revolted, be appalled, and secretly delighted, by the ugly and smelly Mr and Mrs Twit. 

Visit the Official Roald Dahl Website which is packed with information and games as well as up to date news from the World of Roald Dahl, by clicking through to .

The Twits is in some ways the consummate Dahl tale, combining the unpredictable anarchy of his most famous works (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach etc) with the outrageous gross-out elements of his greatly celebrated Revolting Rhymes collections.” Theatreview 

The Twits is a comic retelling of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s tale, starring the revolting Mr and Mrs Twit who delight in playing nasty tricks on one another. The ugly, smelly and shocking couple revel in their own malicious mischief and stupefying stupidity.

Not satisfied with terrifying each other, the repellent duo force pet monkeys to perform tricks for their entertainment and tempt wild birds onto glue-covered trees so the couple can bake them in a pie. But now the animals want to get their revenge. 

Auckland Theatre Company rounds off 2011 with an adaptation by David Wood of this unforgettable Dahl story.

Star of Bro’ Town and Flava FM DJ, Dave Fane and New Zealand comedy royalty, Te Radar, play the eponymous double-act. 

The Twits is a repulsive and amusing tale for children and adults alike. You can bring the kids, or unleash your inner child! Prepare to be revolted, appalled and secretly delighted by the disgusting duo.

The Twits is recommended for children of 8+.

At:  Q, 305 Queen Street, Auckland 
Start date:  Thursday Dec 1 2011
End date:  Sunday Dec 18 2011
Show times:
7pm, Fri & Sat: 2pm & 7pm
Sun: 2pm & 6pm 
Mon, Tue & Wed: No show 
Running Time: Approx. 2 hours 30 mins (inc interval) 
Venue:  Rangatira 
Ticket price:  $22-$32 

Book here


Te Radar — Mr Twit | Dave Fane — Mrs Twit

Andrew Grainger — Narrator | Kip Chapman — Mugglewump Boy

Harry McNaughton — Mugglewump Dad | Sia Trokenheim — Mugglewump Mum

Sarah Graham — Mugglewump Girl | Anna Jullienne — Roly-Poly Bird

Children's Chorus — Imogen Ashmore, Laura Bradley, Ronan Buckley,

Erin Cory-Wright, Hayley Coupe, Mea Grgec, Jack Henderson,

Rowena Koonwaiyou, Freddy Rhodes, Madison Spear



Director — Alison Quigan | Musical Director — Jason Te Mete

Set & Costume Designer — Tracey Collins | Lighting Designer — Brad Gledhill

Assistant Lighting Designer — Rachel Marlow | Choreographer — Jeremy Birchall

Musical Arrangements — Jason Te Mete and Ruth Spencer



Production Manager — Paul Towson | Technical Manager — Paul Nicoll

Stage Manager — Fern Christie | Assistant Stage Manager — Gabrielle Rhodes

Lighting Operator — Rochelle Houghton | Audio Operator — Rory Maguire

Properties Master — Diana Kovacs | Costume Supervisor — Kiri Rainey

Pattern Cutter — Mitch Andrews | Acrobatic Instructor — Beth Kayes

Tree Sculptor — Alastair Hopgood | ASB Community Trust Emerging Artist Apprentices:

Stage Management — Stacey Donaldson | Costume Design — Caitlin Brogan

2hrs 30mins, incl. interval

Pair of twits has children of all ages chuckling

Review by Paul Simei-Barton 05th Dec 2011

Opening with a breathless invitation to enter a world of pure imagination ATC’s Christmas show captures the magic of an old fashioned music hall pantomime and presents a wonderful opportunity to introduce children to the enchantments of live theatre. 

Although the production is perfectly pitched for the primary school age group there is plenty to engage adult audiences. Like all great fables the story contains penetrating psychological insights and a timeless commentary on the frailties of human nature.

Roald Dahl’s imaginative world acts like a grotesque distorting mirror throwing up a strangely revealing reflection of the real world. [More


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Madcap Anarchic Absurdity i.e. Dahl

Review by Nik Smythe 03rd Dec 2011

What particularly appeals to me as a writer about Roald Dahl’s writing is the seeming disregard for narrative structure in the established literary sense.  The stories simply are, however they come out, and are all the more curious and exciting for it.

This pseudo-anarchic approach to authorship is embraced and translated to the stage in playwright David Wood’s madcap adaptation, courtesy of director Alison Quigan and company.  Beginning with the fashionably late start, which at almost twenty minutes ought to make the cover of Vogue…

Circus ringleader-type narrator Andrew Grainger enters in colourful cloak and hat – kind of Dr Who meets Willy Wonka, and introduces the dramatis personae to the tune of none other than Wonka’s own classic anthem ‘Pure Imagination’ from the classic 1971 film, enhancing his sensitive yet spirited song with surprisingly graceful ballet moves. By the time the story begins we’ve well and truly got the idea and eagerly await what is in store. 

The narrator’s friendly, if not exactly necessary, presence creates an open, Brechtian theatre environment which seems to work well with the keen kids, glad to be let in on the process of presenting one of the maddest tales of all from the grandmaster of mad tales. Political correctness is clearly not part of the brief here, rather obtaining laughs by any means necessary (including threatening and even kidnapping audience members) clearly is.

Te Radar’s Mr. Twit is a straightforwardly nasty piece of work, not to mention a bit of a twit, with impossibly grubby clothes and an obviously fake mouldy food-scrap ridden beard. Dave Fane presents a stereotypical scary giant Samoan housewife of a Mrs. Twit. Together they demonstratively rouse the under-eights to over-eighties comprising the near-capacity opening night audience to love to hate them with their viciously revolting behaviour.

The main recipients of said abuse are the endearing and agile Mugglewumps, a small family of monkeys Mr. Twit got cheap on Trade Me with a plan to train them up and open the world’s first upside-down monkey circus. From dutiful parents Mum and Dad (Sia Trockenheim and Harry McNaughton) to sassy daughter (Sarah Graham) and sensitive son (Kip Chapman), the Mugglewumps are about the most loving and functional nuclear family I’ve seen in years, in spite of their desperate predicament.

The five kids (from a team of ten presumably alternating shows) are easy to overlook as they adroitly convey the colourful flock of ‘fantasy birds’, held aloft on long thin poles and flown on, around and off the stage in tidy formations; evidently they’ve opted for the old parrot and stick method …(sorry about that).

Like Mrs Twit, Anna Julienne’s Roly Poly Bird adopts a more local cultural interpretation of her character, in this case an alarmingly broad-accented brazen bimbo from the Gold Coast.  Her distinctly saucy party-girl demeanour, most apparent in her forward-bending chest-grabbing moments of inspiration, ensures audience members of all ages are catered to.

Also for the older punters, numerous references to current affairs and newsworthy celebrities from politicians to sports figures abound – Mrs Twit even gets a ‘nek minnit’ in there. And there’s countless opportunities for audience involvement, not least the ingenious climactic solution to the ultimate prank against the hideous Twits (mirroring the same gimmick used in Tim Bray’s shorter, quieter version a couple of years back – The Twits).

Meanwhile, Mr and Mrs Twits’ slapstick routines set around the nasty pranks they spend their days playing on each other frequently rely more on the spirit of the play than any actual gymnastic skill. The Mugglewump family’s animated acrobatic antics are more consistently accomplished.

Set/costume designer extraordinaire Tracey Collins maintains a distinctly Pacifika motif with the earth-toned floral-printed, multiple door and windowed caravan home of the nefarious couple and a few woven mats on the floor. The caravan and wheeled monkey cage play strongly into the appealing circus-style presentation of the two hour show, as do the magnificent costumes of Carmen Miranda-like Roly-Poly Bird and the sleek furry splendour of the Mugglewumps. 

The lighting arrangement of designers Brad Gledhill and Rachel Marlow keeps up admirably with the cast’s manic gallivanting; also special mention is due to Alastair Hopgood’s gnarly, sculpted tree, a striking feature of Collins’ set, and indeed the plot.

The multifarious sound design, both live and recorded, of musical director Jason Te Mete includes such luminary pop-idols as Michael Jackson, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Queen, among more serious musical art of Janelle Monae and Richard Strauss, plus Boots Randolph’s archetypal ditty Yakety Sax thrown in for good measure to accompany the Benny-Hillesque slapstick chase routine.

So, as with Dahl’s beloved literary works, if you come with a critical technical mind you may find much to preoccupy your pedantic tendencies, whereas if you just bring your sense of humour you’ll have a great time.


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