4 stars The Scotsman Kate Copstick.
4 stars Fringe Guru Stephen Walker. I am reliably informed (by me – Ed.) that it is almost impossible to travel by train to Liechtenstein, at night or at any other time. These trifling facts do not concern us here, as petty concerns such as real life have no bearing on the Twonkeyverse whatsoever. Mr Twonkey is here to take us on his surreal flights of fancy, so buckle in for the ride; the Night Train appears to fly, and it looks like Marie Antoinette is driving. The Twonkey experience is something else; he’s a one-man cornucopia of the bizarre. There are stories, songs, hats and many puppets, but you can never be quite sure of your footing. Everything careers off at an unexpected tangent, or even a right angle. Twonkey’s manager, Mr Pines, has discovered that Twonkey has inherited money from an aunt and must go to Liechtenstein to collect it. For those of us how have been this way before, it has always been doubtful that Mr Pines has Twonkey’s best interests at heart, and he duly sets in motion a plot to kill him with a Semtex Fez in the hope of claiming the money for himself. Twonkey is already en route, in need of the cash because Mrs Twonkey has thrown him out. He is missing his cat, Mr Trombone – to whom he sings a heart-rending song. In a similar sad vein, there is a rather pessimistic version of I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles, and in a desperate attempt to avoid content, a song about going to the pub inspired by Kraftwerk. Secretly, I think that Mr Twonkey is really quite a good singer; he could be Bob Dylan or Tom Jones, but uniquely combines the traits of both. In a post-truth world, I’m sure that Twonkey’s facts about Liechtenstein (he’s added these as audiences at the Prague Fringe seemed to expect them) are as good as any others you might discover. We also learn what Michael Stipe of REM is up to now – it involves fortune cookies – and catch up with a gigolo who has a three star rating on Trip Advisor. For the commited Twonkey fan, some of your favourite moments are in place, including the Transylvanian finger fantasy and the psychic knickers. The latter will reveal the deepest desires of someone present, though it’s never quite clear who. I had been slightly concerned to hear that across two shows at Buxton Fringe, no one had walked out of Twonkey. I wondered if he had perhaps gone mainstream. But no, I needn’t have worried; true to form there were a few escapees (including, to my relief, the massive bloke sat in front of me). This does not concern us either: we get it and they don’t, and it makes us adherents to the Twonkeyverse feel special, as if we are part of a very select club for the discerning or the deranged. Curiously, this club is getting bigger every year. Long live Twonkey; may you forever evade the dastardly Mr Pines.