Monday, 4 August 2014

The Tongue Twister @ 24:7 Festival, 24.07.14

The only family friendly piece of the festival, The Tongue Twister is a charming and energetic work in which rhyme is a crime and you risk losing your tongue for your transgressions. This is a dark fairy tale with echoes of Dahl or Neil Gaiman's writing for younger audiences.

Writer Luke Walker displays great verbosity whilst avoiding excessive pomposity. Although the implied wider world and some of the histories that motivate some characters are not fully explored the piece is driven by a sense of fun and intelligence that ably compensates. He understands his audience well and, like all good children's fiction, the macabre is common place whilst kissing is icky. At the same time, he understands that all good family pieces play to the whole audience and there are rich ideas explored about imagination, education and cultural elitism.

The play is presented in the round and the austere stage is made full use of, location and motion suggested by Andrew Whitehead's fantastically eerie score.

The cast playing young are great and delight not just in handling of the text but their physicality and enthusiasm. Jack Dearsley delivers his rhymes with vigour and confidence, giving a warm and engaging performance. Remmel Dawodu is a kinetic ball of energy with great comic timing. Jose Cerise plays the conflicted Jemima, bringing heart to the piece and giving us an engaging and complex female lead. Unfortunately Ruth Evans as the villainous Miss Primer doesn't quite match the energy or conviction of the rest of the cast, and delivers an unconvincing maniacal laugh. Finally, Leo Atkin achieves a lot with very little in his role as The Old Timer, conveying menace and mischief without dialogue.

The Tongue Twister is a thrilling though imperfect piece, entertaining and engaging its audience old and young throughout.

Words: Sean Mason

Image: Courtesy of 24:7 Festival

No comments:

Post a Comment