Writer: Luke Walker
Director: Alyx Tole
Reviewer: Iain Sykes
Into a world where rhyming and the reciting of poetry is a criminal offence and anybody found guilty has their tongue forcibly removed by a bogeyman figure known as The Tongue Twister, comes Plug (Jack Dearsley), a new boy in school to win the trust of the mysterious shop keeper, Old Timer (played with relish by Leo Atkin), and be the first of his generation to feel the power of rhyme.
This is the premise behind Luke Walker’s new play, The Tongue Twister, debuting at Manchester’s 24:7 Theatre Festival. While some may agree that a world where everybody talks in poetic meter would indeed be a dreadfully annoying one, Walker’s play, aimed at the younger age bracket, supposes just the opposite. It’s a play set in a dark and dismal world where the highlight of the school day is reciting the twenty nine times table and the only treat available from Old Timer’s shop are Numdums, grey flavourless lollipops whose only purpose is to numb the mouths of those who eat them.
In this dull world, ruled by the indomitable headmistress Miss Primer (Ruth Evans), a red lollipop from the shop is the catalyst for a whole new world of rhyme from Plug and his classmates, Jemima (Josie Cerise) and Klymer (Remmel Dawodu). Of course, things are not always what they seem and several dark themes develop within the course of the story, some of which may not be apparent to the age group at which the play is aimed but ensures the story is one that both adults and children can enjoy at different levels.
The incidental music composed by Andrew Whitehead adds a great deal to the atmosphere but some of the generally brilliant rhymes spoken by the great cast seem to fall a little hard on the aural senses for even adult ears. But, the youngsters and, indeed, the adults in the audience paid full rapt attention throughout the whole hour for this inventive, wittily entertaining piece of theatre.
Runs until 25th July