Enjoyable (if pricey) Roald Dahl-based dining experience
If there’s three words guaranteed to make a theatre hack break out in a cold sweat – second to ‘cash bar only’ – it’s ‘theatrical dining experience’. Such shows are invariably tie-ins (often hilariously unofficial) with pre-existing franchises, generally marked by bafflingly retro cuisine (think: chicken supreme), weak-sauce audience interaction, and the sort of acting that a Secret Cinema extra might view as a bit ropey.
Les Enfants Terribles’s ‘Dinner at the Twits’ is a step up. It’s a sort of sequel (with food) to Roald Dahl’s ultimate tale of grotesque, ‘The Twits’, and comes with the assent of the Dahl estate. And there are impressive culinary credentials, with the food overseen by gastronomic wizards Bompas & Parr.
It still falls into almost every cliché going about theatrical dining experiences. The plot is a negligible rehash of the book: Mr and Mrs Twit are renewing their wedding vows and have invited us along; but clearly they have more sinister motives in mind and it’s up to their put-upon monkey servants and a certain gigantic flying creature to save us. Though the menu promises a world of weirdness – ‘mouldy delight’, ‘festering clutch’ – beyond the name everything inevitably turns out to be fairly conventional; the chefs essentially bottle making us eat anything more outre than the odd sprinkling of mealworm.
It is fun, with a lovely – if sometimes cramped – set from Samuel Wyer. Chris Barlow and Lizzy Dive are enjoyable as The Twits: hammy as hell, of course, but they look the part and have great comic timing. However, they rarely feel like anything more than a sideshow to our meal, and certainly there’s nothing even remotely close to a sense of danger to the evening… unless you count the cocktail with actual stinging nettle leaves in it.
Speaking of cocktails: you do get a fantastic amount of booze, which certainly compensates for some of the theatrical and culinary conservatism. Conversely, non-drinkers should beware: I’m not sure there’s enough here for you to justify the hefty pricetag.
Average User Rating
1.7 / 5
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After the main course, the actress playing Mrs Twit came to our table and chastised us for not having finished the coleslaw (containing [spoiler?] cooked grubs). She then scraped a large amount of the leftovers onto a serving spoon and tried to make me eat it. I attempted to stop her putting the spoon in my mouth by pushing it away. She continued trying, spilling the contents down my front as a result. When that happened, she told me "You were meant to eat it, you silly twit", as I scraped coleslaw off my shirt and trousers. I felt very uncomfortable and embarrassed.
I accept there is potential for some invasion of personal space during interactive theatre. That's part of the price of entry, so to speak. But it is beyond acceptable for someone in that situation to try to put anything in your mouth, let alone to continue when it's clear that person doesn't want that to happen. Maybe the other 7 people on my table would have been fine with it, but I clearly wasn't.
Some of the 'humour' was, frankly, regrettable in 2016 as well. The actor playing Mr Twit told a female audience member he would "get intimate" with them later on. He also made someone at the table next to us bend over to touch their toes, presenting their bum to us, and then offered to sell it to our table. I think we should be well past using sexual aggression and homosexuality as a laughing mechanism.
I cannot put it better than the above / below reviewer. Sweating like I have never sweated before, the main characters did their best to drag out a very uninspiring 'plot line' (1.5 hours of "wedding build up" interspersed with "but we secretly don't like each other gags" ending with 15 minutes of puppetry theatre - the best part, imo). And don't get me wrong, I am not squeamish or fussed about health and safety usually, but this pushed it to a new level. For this money, Gingerline beats this hands down.
Took my mum there as a treat. This is supposed to be nasty, as in fun nasty. But not I had presumed, nasty in a health and safety unhygienic nightmare way. Start with the appetisers room, which is 80 people rammed into a room that can comfortably accommodate about 40, and theme it foraging, which means everyone sticking their fingers in your food. In particular was a bowl of 'worms', which was actually spaghetti. Problem was, with no suitable implements in sight, the other 79 people are all sticking their unwashed fingers in the bowl of spaghetti. Errr no thanks. With the temperature in here rapidly reaching scorchio, and with no top up drinks on hand, we were told we should wait for our hosts who'd be along soon. Not soon enough. They were all cracking actors and actresses. Taken through to our main dining experience we raced out of the sauna to our shared tables. Whereupon a shouty show of nastiness commenced. Generally very good but does no-one realise that watching/ listening to the crescendo of our main course, Mr Twitt's extended vomiting incident, is at the very least offputting from ones food, and at worst (as in my case) enducing of nausea. I think is worth pointing out that whether at The Twitts or otherwise, I nor anyone else appreciate being spat on with simulated puke, while I'm eating my main course. The white wine was absolutely horrendous. But I drank what I could to try to calm my stomach. Once the shouting was over, we had a drink in the bar which was a relief frankly. H&S need to investigate this place. I should be asking for my money back. Who regulates this stuff though!?