Dinner at the Twits

Theatre, Interactive
3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

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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.

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