Saturday, 31 March 2018

*Twonkey’s Night Train to Liechtenstein Hits the Tracks!*
Coming Up:
Edinburgh Monkey Barrel Comedy Club
(Headline slot At Peter Pancakes's Comedy Extravaganza!)
9th of April 19:00 hours 2018:
Brighton Fringe 2018 Laughing Horse at the Caroline of Brunswick 2018:
11th and 12th of May 19:30 hours.
Prague Fringe at the Museum of Alchemists 2018:
25th,26th and 27th of May 19:45 hours.
London The Bill Murray Comedy Club 2018:
14th of June 18:45 hours.
Glasgow's Spangled Cabaret at The Blue Arrow:
2nd of July 20:30 hours (Miniature Liechtenstein set).
Buxton Fringe at The Old Clubhouse 2018:
13th July, 19:00 hours and 14th July, 22:00 hours.
Edinburgh Fringe 2018 Heroes at Dragonfly:
3rd to the 26th of August (apart from the 8th and the 22nd) 18:00 hours.
Mr.Twonkey: When I was a young boy I sent a letter to Prince Charles asking if could take it upon him to visit smaller countries like San Marino, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein.
I felt it was important not to neglect them due to size. I have family in Liechtenstein they would love to meet the future kings. I got a letter back from the prince saying he had just been on a skiing holiday in Liechtenstein with the boys. In fact they pinned the letter on the notice board at school. I was bullied to tears. People reacted by trying to kill me. Pretty soon the letter was vandalized and destroyed by thugs. I feel its time for me to go to Liechtenstein. I need to pick up the money left for me by my auntie in her will, what could go wrong?
News Flash First Band Gig For Some Time:
Paul Vickers and The Leg:
Edinburgh’s top toe tapping junkyard super group return.
“Like a 50s scientist on a flying bedstead“ Julian Cope.
Live at Fringe by the Sea North in North Berwick 2018:
Simpson Spiegeltent with the lovely Withered Hand.
6th of August at 21:00 hours (120 minutes)
Playing a new set of songs!

Saturday, 6 January 2018

NEW FOR 2018! Departing soon:
Twonkey's Night Train to Liechtenstein:
2016 Malcolm Hardee Award-winner for Comic Originality – dare you board the Twonkeyverse?
'A crazy, wonderful performer" The Scotsman (Kate Copstick) ****
This year Mr.Twonkey is going to make you cry in his first ever four-handkerchief show. Join him in his new fancy adventure featuring a tiny Al Capone, a mysterious package and a sexual dance that leads us off a cliff. We travel to the belly button of Europe to unlock a safety deposit box. Why is Mr. Trombone so sad and what’s it like to work as a gigolo?
"The barmiest, most original show on the fringe" Broadway Baby ****
Like a cross between Murder on the Orient Express and Jack the Beanstalk directed by David Lynch. Cabaret comedy at its most determinedly unpredictable. It’s a surreal show with twisted songs, adult fairytales and set pieces, which often feature elaborate props and high jinks.
Arriving at:
Heroes at The Criterion Leicester Comedy Festival 2018:
9th February 17:50 hours, £5.
Performing at Liberte for The Glasgow Comedy Festival 2018:
9th of March 20:30 hours, £5.
Laughing Horse at the Caroline of Brunswick for the Brighton Fringe 2018:
11th and 12th of May 19:30 hours, Free.
More dates to be confirmed.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

As I listen to a song asking the intriguing question “What’s In My Marmalade?” while watching two Spandex Tree Hoppers being dangled by the Flying Tailor over our heads, I have a moment of clarity.
We have made it out of the hallucinogenic jungle, met Sue Selfish the Christmas Pudding Spider, swayed along to the catchy title song Christmas in the Jungle, aquiesced in the chloroforming of an elf and enjoyed a Transylvanian Finger Fantasy – which doesn’t even touch the sides of this crazy, wonderful show, by a crazy, wonderful performer – and I realise that the show is actually a concept album.
This fumble in the jungle is particularly strong musically and if the opening number, Santa Claus Is Eating Human Flesh, does not become a Christmas No.1, I will be very upset. Twonkey has listened to criticisms of his lack of narrative thread. So this time he has brought one along. It wraps around him and a woman in the front row yanks the end if she thinks he is digressing from the plot too much.
Fans will be thrilled that all the favourites have made it into the jungle, even the wheel of psychic knickers, but Twonkey’s febrile imagination is unstoppable and this show is packed with magnificent new madness. Who but Twonkey could imagine making “a soft monkey Nicola Sturgeon and fill her with almonds”? And among the surreality, never forget to listen out for Twonkey’s little chunks of observational comedy, his glorious asides and mutterings as things go wrong and this year, a bit of genuinely naughty talk. However well you think your Fringe is going, it will be better for a bit of Twonking.
Twonkey is lost in the jungle. His agent, Mr Pines, has sent him to the Iquitos Fringe deep in the Peruvian Jungle but, unfortunately for Twonkey and his ever-present sidekick, Chris, there isn’t actually an Iquitos Fringe.
Twonkey doesn’t need to conform to our preconceptions of theatre Now I’m going to open this review with a caveat; this show may seem like it makes little sense but that’s because Twonkey’s Christmas in the Jungle is by far the barmiest, most original show on the Fringe. If you like your comedy surreal, Twonkey might still be a bit too weird for you. There’s old classics like the Psychic Ship’s Wheel of Knickers, used to divine audience members’ sexual history, there’s a song about Santa Claus eating human flesh and there’s even a literal narrative thread (more on that later).
Paul Vickers, the man behind Twonkey, has a keen comedy mind and a flair for the absurd. He dodders about on stage giving the impression that he’s making this up as he goes along but, having seen his previous work, it’s clear that everything is fitting to a plan. The plan might be written in green crayon on the side of teapot but Vickers, at least, knows what he’s doing. As with any Twonkey show, the regular appearances by varied puppets is a highlight; most are a mix of cute and terrifying, and each has a backstory and, often, a song. A perfect moment occurs when Twonkey introduces Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf who bemoan the lack of any real structure in the show and how the critics will never understand what he’s trying to achieve. Way to hang a lamp on it, Twonkey.
As for the narrative thread, it is a regular criticism of Vicker’s work that his shows lack this; so, this show has one. It’s tied around his waist and, by the end of the show, it almost strangles him. Twonkey doesn’t need to conform to our preconceptions of theatre, he’s created his own world and he’d love for us all to join him there.
The Malcolm Hardee award is bestowed to those who particularly cater to those who have a penchant for the bizarre and last years winner Mr Twonkey, Paul Vickers, is fully intent on maintaining extreme battiness. If I wasn’t feeling confused at the beginning of the show, I was firmly discombobulated by the end of it.
August is too early for anything Xmas related, but its merely title alone. Twonkey has been sent by his manager Mr Pines to the Iquitos Fringe deep in the hallucinogenic Peruvian jungle over Christmas’. The manager, also played by Vickers only with a fake nose and wig, is another bizarre character that sets the scene at the beginning of the show and things just get stranger from there. Over the course of the next hour we are treated to an hour of utter chaos, grotesque characters, surreal situations and with songs aplenty, soon to be classics like ‘Santa’s Eating Human Flesh’ and ‘Chicken Church’ witch stay with you long after.
If you have an hour to and want something different then spending an hour in the mind of Vickers is probably a good choice, but this show is weird, I mean really, really weird. You need to enter with an open mind and just accept the meandering journey through madness without question, just sit back and enjoy the ride.
If you like the feeling of tripping off your t**s but are too tight-fisted to actually buy any drugs then this is the show for you. Paul Vickers (a.k.a. Mr Twonkey) gives us a bizarre, meandering, Wonderland-esque blend of pure madness which will make you feel like you just dropped a shedload of topnotch ‘shrooms and washed them down with a pint of moonshine. His show consists of a (very, very, VERY loose) narrative about the quest of Mr Twonkey, who is looking for the Chicken Church deep in the heart of the jungle. Yes, you heard me. To visualise Mr T think of The Little Prince all grown up and living under a bridge in The Magic Roundabout…and I get the strong feeling Paul Vickers genuinely believes himself to be Mr Twonkey.
The ‘story’ is interspersed with voiceovers, barmy tunes, some well orchestrated interaction with the audience (unlike some comedians, nothing too personal or vicious- he keeps it feelgood throughout) and a collection of puppets which appear to have been made by a gang of disturbed 5 year olds. The entire premise should mimic Twonkey’s props and fall apart after 5 minutes yet somehow this show bumbles along nicely and exudes a strange charm and humanity, consistently eliciting baffled laughter throughout and feelings of warmth and pity for Mr T…there is something just so disshevelled and likeable about him, he looks like someone who once had a career as a professional hobo but has managed to climb maybe halfway up one rung on the social ladder…you just desperately want him to do well, find his Chicken Church and complete his mission (whatever the hell that may be- we are still wondering).
The winner of last year's Malcolm Hardee Award has lost none of his surreal spark. Mr Twonkey (Paul Vickers) guides us through the jungle full of adventure, song and puppetry. This show includes a ship's wheel decorated with knickers, a flying tailor and a literal narrative thread.
British Comedy Guide
“Now I’ll attempt my special dance, during which I may or may not throttle myself.” Such is onstage life for Mr Twonkey, aka Paul Vickers, now something of a Fringe stalwart having graced Edinburgh with his fantasy islands and freakish DIY puppets since 2010. Thankfully those years of toil haven’t led to the Twonkey brand becoming offputtingly polished, as yet.
Then again, it’s hard to know exactly how much of this heroic mayhem is actually planned. One splendid concept early on: due to this year’s labyrinthine plot Mr Twonkey offers the audience an actual narrative thread, a big red rope we can pull on if we get too confused. Unfortunately, while thrusting it forth (to yours truly) it gets caught up in his mic lead and trapped around his neck, so he gives up and carries on, dragging this twin tether around like some archaic prisoner harness.
It adds a hint of jeopardy to that dance, and as Twonkey wades into the audience to stroke someone with the lollypop of a Christmas pudding spider or make us sniff cheese garnished with a whiff of Taylor Swift, there’s as much hilarity about the rope-based carnage being wrought behind him. By crikey, it’s funny though.
Lunatic Fringe: Clash Heads To Edinburgh
One of the more unlikely transformations in recent years is that by Paul Vickers, formerly the main man with John Peel favourites Dawn of the Replicants. Since 2010 he’s been performing at the Fringe as Mr Twonkey, a prop-based loon who wanders through surreal worlds while also indulging in a fair bit of singing; plus there’s a rolling soundtrack of background effects burbling away that suggest that this is an eccentric who knows exactly what he’s doing. Well, maybe. On the evening that Clash saw this year’s effort – Mr Twonkey’s Christmas in the Jungle – he got a big red rope and the mic lead caught round his neck and caused absolute bedlam. Peel would have loved it.
Best of all we won The Not Television Edinburgh Awards 2017 Best use of a ship’s wheel of knickers:
For the sixth year running, it’s Twonkey’s Christmas in the Jungle, now with added cannibal Santa, bestselling recipe book Cooking with Pills and a sturdy red nylon narrative thread. Twonkey’s on-stage agent assures him “nobody wants that shit anymore. It’s too imaginative, too weird.” Nonsense. Keep it coming. P.S The Twonkey show's Mothra also won the Battle of the Superheroes but more about Mothra later.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

The new Twonkey show (Twonkey's Christmas in the Jungle) coming to the Brighton, Buxton and Edinburgh Fringe this summer (more info below after this fun little story I found behind a fake bookcase).
Enter the Twonkeyverse coughing up stories since 1876:
Example: Paulo the Powder Puff Creature.
You should really meet Paulo the Powder Puff Creature he was the property of Hilda Hedgerow. He would start everyday been pushed into an old tin of make up powder before been rubbed over Hilda’s fat scary face. The effect would knock a few years off her age but was only enough to get a tired smile from a gaunt police detective with no moral compass.
One day Paulo got a fright when what seemed like a gust of wind pushed him out of the window into the street. As Paulo fell he thought he could see a ginger cat and a creepy garden gnome with a bow tie on the windowsill, which was most peculiar, as Hilda didn’t have a pussy or a creepy little man.
He fell into the mittens of an angry schoolboy who was having a snowball fight with a rival school. Paulo was thrown over steeples, over the city hall and into a ditch. Then picked up again and thrown through a wizard’s hat, a mirror into the arsehole of loin, through its intestines into a Kit-Cat packet then into an awaiting raspberry ripple pavlova which was sitting dormant on the sweet trolley of a creepy restaurant. Then he was slopped up in a gooey lump heading towards the moist mouth of Hilda.
The air seemed to part when a ginger cat snapped Paulo up his drooling fangs and nipped him up a drainpipe to the safety of the wonky chimney pots on the restaurant roof. Then a door in one of the chimney pots slowly creaked open; there stood a creepy garden gnome with a bow tie and his flies undone.
“I see you’ve met our rescue moggie Chow Chow come inside and meet the mob….”
Inside the flue was loads of sweaty, snuggled up snowball creatures like Paulo. So Paulo stuck his finger up his arse and tried to suck his own balls.
Brighton Fringe @ Sweet Dukebox
8:30pm 3rd and the 4th of June 2017 £8 (conc £6)
Sweet Dukebox 3 Waterloo Street Hove East Sussex BN3 1AQ
Buxton Fringe @ Underground at The Old Clubhouse
21st July 7pm and 22nd July 5:30pm £7 (Conc £6)
The Old Clubhouse 3 Water St, Buxton SK17 6XN
Edinburgh Fringe Heroes @ Dragonfly
7:20pm 3rd to the 27th of August (not the 15th) £5 or P.W.Y.W
Dragonfly, 52 West Port, EH1 2LD
FLYER ATTACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A Twonkey set will be happening at: Peter Pancakes's Comedy Extravaganza!
Join the king of daft Phil O’Shea ("Utter delicious nonsense" - Fest) for a monthly hand-picked smorgasbord of the most unusual and creative comedy acts out there.
Will there be laughs? YES!
Puppets? YES!
And Singing? YES!
And nonsense and Joy? DEFO! Watch the imagination run riot!
18th of May Doors 7pm, show 8:30pm - please be with us by 8pm
Monkey Barrel Edinburgh,
The Original Room.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Remember only cool people see something early on
Avant Kinema @ Mac Arts Centre
18:30 hours 5th of March 2017
Mac Arts Centre Bridge St, Galashiels TD1 1SP
The Glasgow Comedy Festival at the Hug and Pint
19:00 hours 25th of March 2017
the Hug and Pint 171 Great Western Rd, Glasgow G4 9AW
Museum of Comedy London
19:00 hours 15th of April 2017
Museum of Comedy ,The Undercroft, St George’s Church, Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2SR
Brighton Fringe @ Sweet Dukebox
20:30 hours 3rd and the 4th of June 2017
Sweet Dukebox 3 Waterloo Street Hove East Sussex BN3 1AQ
Edinburgh Fringe Heroes @ Dragonfly
19:20 hours 3rd to the 27th of August (not the 15th) 2017
Heroes @ Dragonfly, 52 West Port, EH1 2LD
Created for a special purpose:
Paul Vickers AKA Mr. Twonkey Favourite British Sit-com's Q AND A:
1.What are your favourite British TV sitcoms? Please choose up to three and feel free to give reasons
1.Catterick Best thing Vic and Bob have ever done a northeastern Twin Peaks with a real story and everything.
2.The Strange World of Gurney Slade Anthony Newley’s bold surreal comedy is unlike anything before or since.
3.Clarence starring Ronnie Barker I think I had chickenpox when I first watched this so it may have sent me mad but I do recall it been a bit like an English Mr.Magoo.
2.What are your favourite British TV sitcom scenes?
1. Vic and Bob’s Weekenders Pilot was such a great sitcom it’s a shame a full series was not commissioned. The best scene is when they go down to the local pub (The Farting Dashboard with Electric Russell playing) and discover in the newspaper that there is a meat festival-taking place (at St. Prontaprint-in-Arndale). They decide to visit the festival, which consists of two tables in an open field. Jim buys a "speciality meat product" from Phil Oakey with consequences I.E the Geordie Aliens want it back to feed their queen.
2. Father Ted’s Fun Fair a haunting scene including The Pond Of Terror, Spinning Cat, The Crane Of Death, Duck Startling and The Tunnel Of Goats.
3. Patrick Stewarts film ideas in Extra’s, which always end with everyone clothes falling off.
3.Who are your favourite British TV comedy characters?
1.Papa Lazarou (The League of Gentlemen) The demonic circus ringmaster and door-to-door salesman who’s after your wife if she’s called Dave which she will be.
2.Father Jack (Father Ted) Feck,Arse,Girls and Drink need I say more.
3. Ed Howzer-Black Toast of London’s landlord
Forever in his dressing gown so mild mannered but funny with it.
4. Which is your favourite comedy actor or actress in a British sitcom?
1. Miranda Richardson’s childish Queen Elizabeth the 1st in Blackadder.
2.Andrew Sachs as Manuel in Fawlty Towers a classic.
3.Dave Spikey in Phoenix Nights low key but perfect.
5.What is your favourite British TV sitcom one liner or catchphrase?
1.Officer Crabtree’s pigeon English in Allo Allo “I was pissing by the door” or “Good Moaning”.
2. “You’re my wife now, Dave” from Papa Lazarou also stands out.
3. "Yes, I can hear you, Clem Fandango" Toast of London.
I also got squeezed onto this lovely London bill before my big night at the Museum:

Sunday, 1 January 2017

The Leicester Comedy Festival Heroes at The Criterion
20:15 hours 9th and 10th of February 2017.
The Glasgow Comedy Festival at the Hug and Pint
19:00 hours 25th of March 2017.
Museum of Comedy London 19:00 hours 15th of April 2017
Winner of the 2016 Malcolm Hardee Award for Comic Originality.
“Mr. Twonkey’s blood type is joy and I am delighted to say he is highly infectious.”
Kate Copstick Judge /The Scotsman critic.
“Dark demented comedy”
***** The Stage.
“The thing is: its brilliant”
**** Broadway Baby.
His conniving manager Mr.Pines has sent Twonkey over Christmas to the Iquitos Fringe deep in the Hallucinogenic Peruvian jungle,Will he survive? Twonkey is impatient to have Christmas the way he wants it and Chris Hutchinson his long-suffering weak Lion is sent on a dangerous quest to find the chicken church. The troubled Duck Sandy finds himself in a pickle after a spot of glass eating reveals a mysterious family tradition. Once the cogs of fate start to turn all is not as it seems and soon Mr.Pines finds himself running Pings Pinny; a bakers in old Shanghai and meanwhile Twonkey and crew will soon be flying high.Imagine if Malcolm McLaren had directed Rupert the Bear drunk and hell bent on making it an oddball curiosity set in a haunted theme park and you’re somewhere close.
“Take that leap of faith, and the dreamlike scenario he sets out in his very distinctive way makes a lasting, haunting impression. It’s a proudly eccentric show.”
Steve Bennett Chortle.
Twonkey AKA Paul Vickers is now a colourful seasoned Fringe auteur that has maintained a trusted reputation for being one of the most ‘out there’ acts in Britain.One thing’s for sure it's increasingly hard to ignore the lure of the eraser head of cabaret comedy “I’ve really done it this time” is all he had to say last week. Dare you enter the Twonkeyverse?
“Mr. Twonkey the storyteller certainly provides the best value, pound-for-pound, of weirdness anywhere on the Fringe.” The List.
“Somewhere between David Lynch and Vic and Bob.” Ben Walters Not Television.
PLUS I am on the following bills in LONDON this January
RICH MIX, LONDON 35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, London E1 6LA
Saturday 21 January 2017 19:00
£10 online offer/£14 on the door Entry Requirements: 18+
ALSO.....The first CON FU SE of 2017!
in a space invaders cafe
Thursday, January 19 free at 8:30 PM
Come down and see us at our lovely home at Four Quarters.
187 Rye Lane, SE15 4TP London, United Kingdom
Headlining the show we have the musical madness of Mr Twonkey
As well as some other very funny odd people like
Dan Lees
President Obonjo
Julia Malsi
Robert Copland
Sian Clarke
NEWS FLASH-Welcome to the Twonkey Sanctuary!!! Paul Vickers brings his absurdist brand of comedy to the Mac Arts Centre in Galashiels on Sunday 5th March 2017 - 6.30pm to 10.30pm. Only £3 to get in!
Dubbed MOON MOTHS at the MAC ARTS CHURCH, the event promises to be an experimental smorgasbord of flavours from across the Globe, with underground films by Allan Brown (Canada), Dagie Brundert (Germany), Duncan Reekie (England), Sarahjane Swan & Roger Simian (Scotland) and Walter Ungerer (USA) + the 2012 feature "Savage Witches" by Daniel Fawcett & Clara Pais (England/Portugal) xx
Sandy the duck from Chris Hutchinson's holiday snaps.

Friday, 9 September 2016

So 2016 was a vintage year for Twonkey at the Edinburgh Fringe….WHY? well as Bruce Dessau from Beyond The Joke put's it:
The winner of the 2016 MALCOLM HARDEE AWARD FOR COMIC ORIGINALITY has been announced at the Gillie Dhu in Edinburgh.
The proud recipient is as follows:
Twonkey - bonkers hybrid of Michael Bentine and Captain Beefheart.
The judges were John Fleming, Claire Smith, Kate Copstick, Marissa Burgess, Jay Richardson and Bruce Dessau.
Below Sandy with the Award back at Twonkey H.Q plus a snap of some dangerous fireworks.........yeah.
The British Comedy Guide had this to say: Mr Twonkey, a character played by Paul Vickers, won the prize for Comic Originality at the Malcolm Hardee Awards for his show Twonkey's Mumbo Jumbo Hotel. Vickers, who lost out on the award last year to Michael Brunström, was picked by judges over Arthur Smith's museum of socks, Foxdog Studios and Come Look at the Baby to win the prize. He collected the trophy accompanied by one his many puppets, Sandy the hooker duck.
Plus Twonkey's Drive in : Jennifer's Robot Arm got a lovely FIVE STAR review from Nick Awde in The Stage:
Twonkey’s Drive-In: Jennifer’s Robot Arm – ‘Dark demented comedy works on several levels with an impressive totality’
If you go down to Sawdust Lane you'll be sure of a very strange surprise – a very odd Northern family indeed dwells there. In this debut play from Paul Vickers’ Twonkey franchise, meet starry-eyed Jennifer, the apple of her cheery chappy dad's eye and who manages to slice her arm off within the first few moments of the show under the illusion that she’s Pinocchio’s sister.
With heart-rending failure Dad tries to build her a new arm, watched by mum Pam with acerbic disdain. Cue a knock on the door and the entrance of a mysterious inventor who promises Jennifer the prosthetic she yearns for – but at a terrible price. Will Jennifer get to meet Pinocchio? And who is the evil demonic neighbour boy Patrick Promise?
Songs crop up at the oddest of places, nicely musical hall/pop rather than staid Broadway – the raucous intro number, Jennifer ripping up a book with gay abandon for If Pinocchio Could See You, Father’s plaintive Salt Shaker in the Rain, and Pam’s Screw a Little Harder (followed by a jaw-droppingly icky bedroom scene).
It is a simply cracking cast who run with the insanity of Paul Vickers’ vision and make it their own – Miranda Shrapnell’s dementedly endearing Jennifer, Ben Nardone’s desperately affable Father, Vickers’ benignly sinister ‘Mr Twonkey as Inventor’, pianist Pete Harvey’s silky chords, while Simon Jay’s Pam wickedly steals the show with a torrent of cruel putdowns, libidinous asides and Valium-drenched double-takes.
Of course it’s wilfully not everyone’s cup of tea, but you will appreciate writer Vickers’ and director Jay’s skill at getting their actors to play on several levels simultaneously with an impressive totality, creating a dark, demented, possibly absurdist comedy that alternately caresses and slaps you from all sides.
Kate Copstick enjoyed herself too the following review taken from “You’ll go ape for animal crackers” a feature by Kate Copstick in the Scotland on Sunday on 14 of August 2016 .The piece also covered Richard Gadd, Paul Currie and Spencer Jones-but here’s the bit about Twonkey:
Meanwhile, over on the fun side of slightly crazy, as I sit in a tiny room watching a beardy man entangle himself in a fishing net, sing a plaintive duet with a tree trunk and get psychic readings about the audiences sex lives through the medium of knickers I give thanks for the sadly departed indie band Dawn of the Replicants, from whose ashes arose the comedy phoenix that is Mr.Twonkey.
The audience do not so much come into a Twonkey show as fall down his rabbit hole. It might take you a minute or so to acclimatise yourself to your surroundings –especially as the beardy man is advancing upon you holding something that looks like a demonic brown snowman on a stick, hung with cowrie shells that make it a percussion instrument as he shakes it, singing a song about a Coconut Frog.
We are introduced to Edward Tight, the deep-sea diver who is staying in the Mumbo Jumbo Hotel along with Drunk Welsh Ann, Mystic David and several other characters. I won’t attempt to explain the plot, partly as it is very complicated and partly because I am not sure I followed it all, but that really does not matter when we have an opium-addled Santa, a brandy-identifying duck and Transylvanian Finger Fantasy, all of which leads to a song about Competitive Eating.Oh no. There is murder most…odd, in fact two of them. There is even gay marriage, hummus and a happy ending signalled by a song about Macaroni with an articulated fish accompaniment. Mr Twonkey’s blood type is joy and I am delighted to say he is highly infectious.
Fringe Review covered both shows Philip Hutchinson had this to say about Twonkey's Mumbo Jumbo Hotel: Twonkey (aka Paul Vickers) is well-known around the Fringe Festivals. His shows are rubbish nonsense – but in a marvellous way. From a similar school of surrealism as Paul Foot or Reeves & Mortimer in their Golden Age, you can expect an hour of ramshackle weirdness which is silly and pointless and is definitely not for everyone. If this is your thing, though (and it is mine), you have found a home here.
We are shown around the Mumbo Jumbo Hotel, which has the face of a violent baby. We are taken inside and shown photographs of what’s going on in there. This is when we find the man from Frankie & Benny’s who is clearly up to no good and has his own plans about the future of the building. We feel sympathy for the eight-foot tall man who has to eat off the top of a wardrobe in the alleyway. There’s a dangerous cuckoo clock. We are treated to a seance by torchlight. The highlight of the show, for me, was the puppet duck – his beak full of slices of cake (the first one fell out, so he got a second one) whilst Twonkey is singing “Happy hippos”.
He also loved Twonkey's Drive In : Jennifer's Robot Arm :
Twonkey (Paul Vickers) is an Edinburgh regular and somewhat of a hidden institution. His shows at Sweet Venues each year are like a Last Of The Summer Absinthe. Surprisingly, there is a plot – albeit somewhat absurdist. Jennifer is convinced that, like Pinocchio, she is made of wood. The nasty boy next door, Patrick Promise (who may well be an imaginery friend/fiend), tells Jennifer to cut off her arm with a circular saw to prove it. She does. She’s not. After attempts to fit a prosthetic arm fail, a mysterious inventor arrives with a fully-functioning robot arm for Jennifer. Everyone is delighted with it, but he wants far more money than they can afford. He chooses – with mutual agreement – to take payment in a quite different manner from Jennifer’s mother, Pam. Being a nymphomaniac, she is only too happy to accept. However, when it comes for the first installment to be paid, she is so disgusted by The Inventor’s appendage that she refuses to go along with it. He leaves, taking the Robot Arm AND their savings which were kept in a rare antique bowl. It’s only when it’s too late that they realise the value of the bowl (millions of pounds… it had something to do with Lord Nelson). The play has a happy ending – or as happy an ending such a twisted piece of insane Gothic could have.
Given Vickers’ Dadaist approach, it all hangs together rather well. Nardone is affable and possesses a very pleasant singing voice. His Father role is straight out of a fairy tale – everything is wonderful, he has no malice and loves everything and everyone. By total comparison, Simon Jay’s Pam is one of the most hilarious monsters you could want to watch. Not so much drag queen as drag slutty frump (think Les Dawson and Roy Barraclough as Cissy and Ada but with Lily Savage’s attitude). Everything he does is over the top and with filthy innuendo. His timing is perfect and this horrible creation needs a show of her own. In the lead role, Miranda Shrapnell sums up this show in her unique performance. She is full of energy and glee throughout and is clearly not what modern society would class as normal.
PLUS FOURS STARS IN BROADWAY BABY FOR TWONKEY'S MUMBO JUMBO HOTEL: In a tiny room at Sweet Grassmarket a man has placed a wide array of props, toys, figurines, dolls and detritus in an apparently haphazard way. Mr Twonkey, also known as Paul Vickers, welcomes his tiny audience before using all of his assorted trinkets to tell the tale of the Mumbo Jumbo Hotel, its denizens and the shenanigans that may or may not lead to its demolishing and the creation of a retail park that features a Frankie & Benny’s. He also takes a break to tell us about our own sexual history, using his psychic ship’s wheel of knickers (exactly what it sounds like): a ship’s wheel, hung with knickers (mostly lacey) to help Vickers to psychically divine your past sexual encounters. It’s bizarre and brilliant.
If you’re confused by that first paragraph, well you should be.
Twonkey’s Mumbo Jumbo Hotel is about the most confusing piece of theatre cabaret I’ve ever seen - and I’ve seen Vickers’ previous Fringe shows. Songs and monologues segue into each other as Vickers attempts to operate lights, music cues and locate lost or knocked over props. At one point, he has to take a few moments out to disentangle a large prop from the mic stand but only manages to attach it to the lowest button of his jacket and is forced to wear it for the next few minutes of the show until he can find an appropriate moment to detach himself.
The thing is; it’s brilliant. Vickers has created a bonkers world that, if you’re in on the joke with him, is consistently laugh out loud funny. He’s the master of bizarre asides and surreal set ups that sometimes lead to a place that only Vickers understands. Twonkey makes The Mighty Boosh look like Bob Monkhouse. Frodo Allan on 10th August 2016.
Steve Bennett from Chortle popped by too we scared him a little :The tiny studio room is littered with old wooden puppets – the bullet-scarred duck could give you nightmares, if the evil Christmas elf doesn’t – and there’s a diorama of the hotel, featuring figurines of characters such as Drunk Welsh Anne and a creepy mystic on the table.He went on to say:Yet the low-key charm befits the gentle whimsy. And the prog-rocky music that fills between his peculiar scenes is delightful. Vickers is also lead singer of cult Scottish indie band Dawn of the Replicants, a John Peel favourite, and so several notches above the average comedy musician, however strange his lyrics.But take that leap of faith, and the dreamlike scenario he sets out in his very distinctive way makes a lasting, haunting impression. It’s a proudly eccentric show likely make you smile more than laugh out loud, but if a nonconformist can’t find a home at the Fringe, where can he?
The List also popped by:Paul Vickers in his guise as Mr Twonkey the storyteller certainly provides the best value, pound-for-pound, of weirdness anywhere on the Fringe. His amiable whimsy,is peppered with songs about, say, Santa going on an opium binge and ending up with nothing but broken badminton racquets to give away.
The sort of people who like Captain Beefheart are likely to love Twonkey, and the converse is also true.Towards the end he laments, 'we're going to have to live with these memories for the rest of our lives'. He's not wrong: for good or ill you won't soon forget a visit to Twonkey.
Ben Walters popped in and had a look for his blog Not Television and he enjoyed himself too:
There was more delectable poetic lunacy from Paul Vickers in Twonkey’s Mumbo Jumbo Hotel, the latest in the Twonkey cycle of peculiar puppetry, song, storytelling and bizarre prop work. The Wheel of Psychic Knickers remains in place along with challenges such as whether he can feed a coconut frog enough of Peggy’s raspberry spaghetti to turn a lump of wood into Pinocchio, the squeezebox ballerina. A drunk, violent baby, the zinc tears of Jesus and a turkey dinner on top of a wardrobe in an alley are also involved. Apart from the singular sensibility, Vickers’s rich, reedy vocals, and his palpable pleasure in performance, one of the main pleasures of a Twonkey show is always seeing who is convulsed in hysterics and who remains stony-faced throughout.
A second bite of the Twonkey cherry in Twonkey’s Drive-In: Jennifer’s Robot Arm, Vickers’s first play, in which, under the influence of a malign semi-imaginary neighbour boy, a girl cuts off her arm to the consternation of her dappy dad and jaded mum. A passing professor (Vickers) might have the solution but at a steep cost. It’s a weirdly colourful and unsettling piece with shades of Brimstone and Treacle or even Teorema, teetering between grotesque caricature and genuine pathos, buoyed by strong performances that locate it somewhere between David Lynch and Vic and Bob.
The Mumble enjoyed themselves saying:He (Mr.Twonkey) looked he had just come out of a witches cauldron,the room ballooned with instant laughter! -:hilarious songs and crazy dance moves, Mr. Vickers did get the unsuspected audience in stitches of laughter. Caught up in a wonderland of toys, mad impressions, miming, crazy jokes, this was all rather gob-smacking. An imaginative piece of theatrical comedy that will have an impact on all who see this show. If you have a cheeky one hour to spare at 9PM this August, take a journey back to your youth with Twonkey's Mumbo Jumbo Hotel and you wont be sorry.
Four stars for Twonkey's Mumbo Jumbo Hotel and four for Twonkey's Drive In : Jennifer Robot Arm:I found myself taking the role of a psychologist as I watched the play unfold, making notes and prescribing possible remedies for what was a deeply sensitive subject. Somehow even the jokes flowed well despite the sensitive subjects.Mr Twonkey gave a performance not unlike Gene Wilder’s portrayal in the iconic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory of a man society deems freakish or out of place.
So all in all a good crazy old year ...Oh i'm fainting.
Jennifer's Robot Arm and Twonkey studio press shots: Photo Express.
My award goes to Mary Trodden for putting up with me and making such wonderful sets.Rachael Forbes amazing Robot Arm for Jennifer was another cracking treat.Not forgetting the pow wow of musicians that bring the songs to life each year and Sweet Venues for giving me support and a home.Live Twonkey's Mumbo Jumbo Hotel Snaps by Lika Gavrish from the Prague Fringe 2016.