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[MAR 99] BELRADE THEATRE PRESS RELEASE
The Twits

25 MARCH - 10 APRIL 1999

By Roald Dahl
Adapted for the stage by David Wood
Directed by Kathi Leahy

Continuing our diverse Spring season, The Belgrade Theatre is proud to present one of Roald Dahl's most popular tales - his darkly humorous The Twits. A visually stunning piece of theatre which can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

The master of storytelling, Dahl presents us with two of literature's most repulsive characters and takes us on an extraordinary adventure charting their unpalatable life and inevitable demise at the hands of The Muggle-Wump monkeys, aided and abetted by their feathered friends.

"... if you peered deep into the moustachy bristles sticking out over [Mr Twit's] upper lip, you would probably see ... things that had been there for months and months, like a piece of maggoty green cheese or a mouldy old cornflake or even the slimy tale of a tinned sardine ... "

"Mrs Twit was no better than her husband. She did not, of course, have a hairy face. It was a pity she didn't because that at any rate would have hidden some of her fearful ugliness"

As the story unfolds, Dahl portrays the Twits' disgusting behaviour and the dastardly tricks they play on each other - for example, Mrs Twit places her glass eye in her husband’s beer:

"I've got eyes everywhere so you'd better be careful..."

As we expect from Roald Dahl, the story takes a darker course - in the form of the poor MuggleWump monkeys imprisoned in a tiny little cage and destined, in response to Mr Twit's orders, to spend their entire existence upside down on their heads. Add to this his feathered victims - ensnared by glue-laden tree branches to end up in Mrs Twit's cooking pot and you have the perfect ingredients for a rebellious uprising!

The birds and monkeys band together and devise an intriguing plot to get their own back - and succeed in going to extraordinary lengths to overthrow their captors. In the true style of Roald Dahl, the Twits' demise is swift and sure.

Talented local children join a cast of professional actors in this ingenious and faithful adaptation.

NOTES

The Twits will be an extraordinary piece of theatre for children, young people and families that is exciting and stimulating and has cultural breadth.

The Twits as a project will develop the skills base of everyone involved, in particular, the creative relationship between the professional and community cast; a new designer who has specific skills in large scale and metal work and there will be a strong influence of circus arts - including the use of actors with acrobatics and flying skills.

The Twits will be a play with strong educational value. The Belgrade Theatre will be producing an education pack for use by teachers that is practical, relevant and stimulating and which is widely disseminated to schools. We will be offering pre-show story telling sessions to support educational themes in the play, as well as pre-show picnics for blind and deaf children and young people (on 31 March @ 12.15 and 7 April @ 12.15 respectively)

The Twits will tour to Harrogate Theatre from 12 - 17 April. It is the aim of the Belgrade to tour this production in late Autumn / Spring.

David Wood on the adaptation process:

"Adapting Dahl is quite a challenge ... the richness of Dahl's characters, his masterly plot development, his humour, and above all perhaps, his extraordinary blend of reality and fantasy, have an intensely 'theatrical' feel and the potential to translate well to a theatre setting. [The Twits] is one of Dahl's most popular,' a subversive yet highly moral tale. Dahl creates two memorably unpleasant human beings and sets them against a group of appealing animals and birds. In adapting it for the stage I found it tempting to make Mr & Mrs Twit out-and-out villains and the Muggle-Wumps and the birds 'goodies'. But hopefully it is not as simple as that. I hope the audience will enjoy rather than hate the horridness of The Twits, and, at the same time, enjoy joining in with the animals' attempts to outwit them…."

Creative Team Biographies

Kathi Leahy - Director
Kathi trained at the Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama and is currently Artistic Director of Shaskeen Theatre Company, Chair of Irish Arts Development Group (Coventry) and a member of Coventry Irish Festival Committee (Arts Programmer). Past theatre includes working with St Finbarr's Youth Arts, Teatro Tascabile, Bromsgrove Arts Development, Tipton Youth Theatre, Talking Birds Theatre Company, Tipton Teachers Forum, Collar and TIE, Arts in Sandwell, Second Generation Theatre Company, Remould Theatre Company, Belgrade Youth Theatre, TIC TOC Theatre Company and Depot Studios. Film and video includes A Good Night Out, a staff training video on disability issues and a customer care video for Belgrade Theatre Access Group; Bluebeard's Cake, Piece of Cake Productions and Central TV, and Break Point for Maverick and Central TV. Kathy received an Irish Post award in 1998 in recognition for her services to the Irish community.

Torn Conroy – Designer
Tom was one of the founder members of Macnas, designing and collaborating on many projects including Guiliver, Alice In Wonderland and Tain. He studied production design for feature film at Britain's national Film and Television School and has since designed numerous films and TV dramas including The Boy From Mercury (1995), Soft Sand Blue Sea (1997), Hooligans (1997), Hello, Hello, Hello (1995), Moondance (1993) and Bob Quinn's the Bishop's Story (1992). Tom received the 1998 Irish Times Award for Best Design for The Dead School, by Patrick McCabe.

MORE INFORMATION: Cath Pitkethly  01203 846 703
  

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