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Roald Dahl’s The Twits at the Manoel this Christmas

Roald Dahl’s The Twits at the Manoel this Christmas

Teatru Manoel is set to welcome audiences to the grand finale of its festive season line-up – a fabulous adaptation of children’s favourite, The Twits, produced by the Manoel, created by Masquerade Malta and performed in English. A must-see production for all families in Malta this Christmas – whether it’s their first or fiftieth time at the Theatre!

What merrier way to spend a memorable afternoon or evening than to sit back and enjoy a masterfully staged classic in the grand-yet-cosy ambience of Teatru Manoel, Malta’s gem of a national theatre? While the much-loved panto will not take place this year, audiences are still in for a wild ride coloured by circus slapstick, dance and drama.

Anthony Bezzina, Masquerade’s artistic director, shares his views: “The Twits has a standing of its own – it cannot replace the panto by any stretch, but it has fun elements and a semblance of audience interaction. This will work as a kind of ‘restart’ for families to go and sit in a theatre again, but for a shorter period. While it’s important for audiences to feel safe, it’s great that they’re also willing to participate in organised activities like this.”

The performance is based on the tale by top children’s storyteller Roald Dahl – famed for his brilliant wit, plot development and character portrayal. Adapting his work for the Manoel stage was “a mammoth challenge”, according to director Ian Moore.

Having himself grown up reading Dahl’s work, Mr Moore remarks, “Countless readers worldwide have engaged with Roald Dahl’s work, in all of its glorious absurdity and dark humour. A book offers a private journey where personal images are created in the mind’s eye, while the joy of theatre is communal and dynamic.” The key to pulling it off and ensuring audiences are engaged, he reveals, is to stay true to the original and to take bold decisions.

The cast includes Eliza Aquilina and Jayne Giordanella as Mr. and Mrs. Twit, Katherine Brown as the Ringmaster and Roly Poly Bird, and Matthew Cilia, Bertha Farrugia and Emily Abela as Mr. and Mrs. Muggle-Wump and Muggle-Wump Daughter respectively. The rehearsal process has been a fun process, as the ensemble bring the pages of Dahl’s book alive on stage, while being turned upside-down and falling over at every turn. The physical comedy forms an integral part of the production, and it will undoubtedly tickle the sides of the younger members of the audience.

Yet The Twits is as much a production for adults as it is for children, and it isn’t all slapstick and silliness, observes Mr Moore. “Much like the rest of Dahl’s books, The Twits is a charming, moral tale about being loving, caring and nice to one another.”

Quoting the master, Dahl himself, he concludes, “A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams, and you will always look lovely.” And what better message to spread at Christmas?

Reflecting on what audiences may expect to take away with them, Mr Moore says, “I would hope they leave the theatre with a spring in their step, feeling entertained and briefly forgetting the torrid last eighteen months we have all experienced.” He also anticipates that they will gain a newfound fascination for hairy-faced men; anyone wondering why will have to watch the play to find out!

Teatru Manoel CEO Massimo Zammit looks forward to the theatre receiving newcomers and regulars alike. “Audiences new and old are welcome to join in the festive fun, with the peace of mind that we are following all protocols set by the Health Authorities – for the safe enjoyment of everyone. We wish you all a Merry Manoel Christmas!”

The Twits will run at Teatru Manoel in Valletta from 26 December at 3pm, 6pm and 9pm and from 27 to 30 December at 4pm and 7pm. Tickets are available for all brave six-year-olds and their families and can be booked by visiting www.teatrumanoel.mt, emailing bookings.mt@teatrumanoel.mt or calling on +356 2124 6389.