Sunday, 2 February 2020

Soho Theatre London
Mon 16 Mar 2020
'A pioneer of the indie/fringe crossover.' Guardian
Time to enter the Twonkeyverse again. Climb aboard his Weird but Wonderful Waltzer and away we go… up and down and roundabout for a bit, but then he takes hold of your car and spins and you are off, pinned to the wall by a centrifuge of silliness.
Twonkey's Ten Year Twitch, reviewed at the Edinburgh Fringe 2019 * * * *
You simply have to go with it and thrill to the ride. Trying to make normal sense of a Twonkey show is like trying to get a cup of water from a bucketful that is being swung around your head. Having said which, Mr Pines, Twonkey’s manager, is still a very bad guy, the Psychic Knickers still reveal deep truths and Chris Hutchinson is still quite sad.
We meet da Vinci and his landlady before setting off to find the evil cake-decorating shop in the Dordogne where fake weather is being made via a Film Noir-influenced sequence in which rimming saves the day. Of course there are songs, some positively singalong.
The grand climax was slightly marred by a defective lighter and an over-enthusiastic hand with the pump, but the most wonderful thing about the Twonkeyverse is Twonkey himself – his little mutterings and fillers when things go awry are like the Funny Fairy blowing in your ear – and so although the drama might have been dented, the fun was doubled. Watch out for The Crone. She is a keeper.
Photos: steve ullathorne

Friday, 1 March 2019

In no particular order here are some live events in the year 2019 that feature Paul Vickers aka Mr.Twonkey:
at the Prague Fringe 2019 details below:
Café Club
Address: Míšeňská 71/3, 118 00 Praha 1-Malá Strana
Dates: 24.05. – 26.05.
Time: 21:00 – 22:00
Matinee show.
Paul Vickers and The Leg//Fox Opera//Dr.VZX Moist
Hosted by Fuzz Bat Gigs
Saturday, March 23, 2019 at 2 PM – 5 PM (We are on about 4 PM)
Leith Depot
138-140 Leith Walk, EH6 5DT Edinburgh, United Kingdom
We are also supporting the fantastic Hamish Hawk and The New Outfit
at Sneaky Pete's ( 73 Cowgate, Edinburgh EH1 1JW)
on the 6th of May, 2019.+++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Paul Vickers and The Leg some info:
The leg was formed in Edinburgh in 2005, by Dan Mutch, Alun Thomas and Pete Harvey. In 2018 they are joined by John Mackie (ex Khaya) and James Metcalfe from the Pineapple Chunks. They also record and perform with Paul Vickers from Dawn of the Replicants and Twonkey fame.Pete has also been playing with Modern Studies and King Creosote.Dan, Alun and James have been performing occasionally as Tardigrades too.Alun used to play drums for Withered Hand, Its complex.
The Leg's Live performances have been described as 'Verfremdungseffekt' by Neil Cooper theatre critic for The Herald and as 'eternally brilliant' by David Pollock in The List they have also been called buckfasted-up psychopaths and possibly dangerous by the voices in there own heads.Paul Vickers has been told "He creates wonderlands of weird" by Fringe godhead Kate Copstick in The Scotsman and The Herald said 'he has verbal ideas flying from him like sparks from a Catherine Wheel with voice flipping from abrasive gargle to sneering panto-dame witch.'
You need to book tickets and fast between them they have done more John Peel sessions back in the day then Wile E. Coyote has sticks of dynamite.
Also they are trying hard to finish a new album which has been called fucking brilliant by a mysterious source.The final word has to go to Julian Cope who said Paul Vickers and The Leg are “Like a 50s scientist on a flying bedstead.'
Sat 13th July, 10:00PM (at The Old Clubhouse)
Sun 14th July, 4:00PM (at The Old Clubhouse)
For the Edinburgh Fringe 2019 the venue is
Just the Tonic at The Caves
Just The Wee One.
Dates: August 1-11, 13-25
As for Brighton Brighton Fringe 2019:
Laughing Horse @ Caroline of Brunswick (Free,bucket at the end)
03 May 2019 21:30 - 22:30
04 May 2019 21:30 - 22:30
and get this poster down you:
Twonkey will headline Peter Pancakes
at the Monkey Barrel Comedy Club
Always a fun night!
on Monday the 11th of March
Doors 7:00pm, show 8:00pm
FREE, with donations at the end
9 - 11 Blair Street
Twonkey will also appear on the bill of Spangled Cabaret
The Blue Arrow Club
Glasgow International Comedy Festival:
323 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow G2 3HW
Monday 18 March
£8/£7 Spangled Cabaret has been bringing you monthly alternative variety for 11 years now! An anything goes mix of: mirth, burlesque, magic, macabre, poetry, drag, performance art and more. This edition features some of the funniest people around, many of them flying in the face of normal, or are tricky to classify!
Featuring: Scott Agnew, The Creative Martyrs, Derek McLuckie, Anna Secret Poet, Gabriel Featherstone, Miss Innocence Bliss, The Guru, Mr Twonkey, Lacy Rain & Kim Khaos.
Twonkey will also be appearing at
The God Damn Debut Slam:
Thursday April 4, 2019 at 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Scottish Poetry Library
5 Crichton's Close
Edinburgh, United Kingdom EH8 8DT
Poster by Super Allan/Photos by Photo Express.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

(the real name)
(name used for the Leicester Comedy Festival by mistake):
London The Bill Murray Comedy Club:
Leicester Comedy Festival:
Twonkey’s 10th show is about grotesque cake decorating shop in the Dordogne that has been secretly making fake weather sense 1982.
On the new show Mr.Twonkey has this to say "Only Last week I knocked on the door licking my lips in anticipation. The shopkeeper opened the door, a tiny woman who was all baggy eyes with a hard miserable face and fast little legs. I had made a horrible mistake I could not turn back! Come to the show and to find out what happened to me next"
"A musical comic with an operatic imagination" 4 stars Beyond the Joke
"He’s a one-man cornucopia of the bizarre" 4 stars Fringe Guru
"He creates wonderlands of weird" 4 stars The Scotsman
"Mind bending fables" 4 stars The Times
"The plan is written on a teapot" 4 stars Broadway Baby
Winner of the 2016 Malcolm Hardee Award for Comic Originality.

Friday, 31 August 2018

The Reviews, Twonkey’s Night Train to Liechtenstein Edinburgh Fringe 2018:
4 stars The Scotsman Kate Copstick.
If you have never experienced an hour with Twonkey, this is an excellent place to start. He has gone positively mainstream this year with a musical feast accompanied by a running dramatic buffet that has an actual narrative thread and everything.
Twonkey’s Night Train To Liechtenstein, Heroes @ Dragonfly (Venue 414) **** Twonkey has, we are told, inherited a lot of money and his nasty manager is out to steal it on the eponymous Night Train to Liechtenstein. He has had a bad year, being thrown out by Mrs Twonkey and suffering from a subsequent aversion to content, but he pulls himself together and brings us a show you will never forget.
I fully expect to see his glorious, Kraftwerk-meets- Boomtown-Rats inspired track “In The Pub” topping the iTunes charts soon. It might be my favourite thing this August. Although Twonkey’s rendition of I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles is not to be missed and his “harrowing song about emotional distress” sung with a tiny toy kitten accompaniment will touch your very soul. Add to this those perennial delights the Transylvanian Finger Fantasies, the return of Chris Hutchinson, Sandy and Mothra plus a Tiny Al Capone and a Semtex Fez and you have an hour of joyous abandon where the normal rules of anything simply don't apply.
One of the many great delights of a Twonkey show are the man’s mumblings and asides. “Let’s see where this takes us,” he mutters, after some incomprehensible but hilarious happening. “Everyone likes outcomes” he tells us. By this time we don’t mind. We are all just delighted to be there. It is difficult not to fall in love with a Twonkey show. Overthink it and you will ruin it for yourself; look for normal jokes and you will be disappointed. Step into the Twonkeyverse and give rationality a rest.
4 stars Beyond the Joke Claire Smith.
Twonkey is a musical comic with an operatic imagination. Nothing limits his determination to tell this sweeping trans European tale with a James Bond plot involving missing diamonds, attempted murder and exploding head gear.
His props often evade him, his cast of puppets are in a state of advanced disrepair. He even struggles at one point to put on a jacket at the same time as keeping a wig and a pair of glasses on his head.
This is low tech theatre. The only available lighting effect is a switch to the side of the stage, which can either be switched off, or on. But Twonkey battles on, performing his one man rock opera as if he were on the stage of La Scala, rather than in a room above a pub with a light switch and a couple of suitcases full of collapsing props.
It’s easy to spot the Twonkey fans in the audience. They are the ones with a rapt expression who collapse in fits of laughter as soon as the proceedings commence. Some of the other audience members wear a look of bewilderment, until they realise, that yes, somehow, this is all deliberate and very funny – and that even if they fail to follow the plot Twonkey has a coil of red rope behind the curtain which can be called in to act as a narrative thread.
The songs are marvellous. In a former life Vickers was the lead singer of indie band Dawn of the Replicants and he writes a new full song cycle for every one of his shows. Highlights of his latest offering are the Kraftwerk inspired song ‘In the Pub’, performed in the style of the Boomtown Rats. There’s also the poignant ‘Furs’ – a heartbreaking tale about how much he missed his cat Mr Trombone after Mrs Twonkey asked him to move out.
There’s an emotional centre to this show which Twonkey lovers will not have experienced before. It makes the audience warm to this supremely loveable character even more, if such a thing were possible.
Nonetheless the climax of the tale is as far fetched and extraordinary as it's possible to be, involving a supernatural moth, crafted from an umbrella, sparked into life by two electricity pylons waved in the air by members of the audience.
Nothing is impossible. Never forget your dreams. And let your mind fly free. Twonkey, whoever he really is, lives to remind us of all things.
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.
4 stars Broadway Baby Frodo Allan.
Reviewing Mr. Twonkey at the Fringe has become a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. Every year, I’m excited to go see his new show and then, during the performance, I find myself thinking, “How the hell am I going to review this in a way that makes sense?” This year is no exception.
For the uninitiated, Mr Twonkey is the creation of vocalist for cult rock band Dawn of the Replicants and winner of the acclaimed Malcolm Hardee Award for Comic Originality, Paul Vickers. His performance style is part lovely storytelling uncle and part drunken man standing in the street trying to have a friendly argument with himself. Twonkey is painfully endearing onstage and the audience are absolutely along for the ride on his Night Train to Liechtenstein. It's going to be a hell of a ride as I'm sure this train doesn't need to follow the tracks, is fuelled by fever-dreams, and it might actually be a submarine.
In this show, Twonkey’s constantly malevolent agent Mr Pines has yet another plan to rid himself of his hated client. He’s going to do this by shipping a semtex fez to Twonkey and then take his place and claim a recent inheritance. However, the plot is completely secondary to the meandering narrative thread (which is literally in a pile on the edge of the stage) which takes in thoughts on REM’s Michael Stipe, a tiny Al Capone, Twonkey’s failed marriage, and songs that shouldn’t have too many specifics.
All of the puppets that have become staples of Vicker’s performances are here and some call-back gags reward the long-time fans. The songs are wonderfully weird and there’s plenty of barmy asides throughout. This presentation is less prop heavy than previous shows but the various handmade and customised items throughout are, as always, a delight. “Doesn’t matter if everything breaks; that’s how the show works”, Vickers says as yet another prop goes a bit wrong and he’s right. The show works and it definitely broke me.
Highly Recommended Show Fringe Review Philip Hutchinson.
I had heard that Mr Twonkey (the onstage persona of Paul Vickers) had a proper plotline for his show this year. I was concerned. There is always supposedly some kind of plotline to his work, which is usually gossamer-thin. I am pleased to report this year’s offering was no different. The plotline was gloriously absent.
Mr Twonkey is a mainstay of Edinburgh Fringe having been performing at the Festival for many years. The framework never changes. A mix of deconstructive asides, crazed and rambling songs, joking with the audience and his regular series of deformed, home-made junk puppet characters such as Chris Hutchinson (who, this year, sat on my knee and sang me a song whilst stroking my face – which is most odd coming from a lion sharing my surname), Sandy the duck and the more recently created Moth-Ra (who may or may not be mostly umbrella in origin). The Ship’s Wheel is also here, it’s purpose to dispense gifts and wisdom… and disclose surreal fantasies.
This year’s show did get some advance coverage in the national press, not least because of its curious title. Who even considers Liechtenstein at any point? Had it been titled NIGHT TRAIN TO GENEVA, I don’t think it would have garnered the same attention – but then, a place as obvious as Geneva is beneath Vickers’ creativity.
For the past two years, the show has taken place at The Dragonfly, a couple of minutes walk from his previous home at Sweet Venues. The chaos of a room in a pub does actually suit his performance better than a regular theatre environment. We enter the space to Roy Orbison’s ‘Mystery Girl’ and the performance space is a cross between a playroom and a toy recycling centre. I suspect we are seeing a physical manifestation of Vickers’ mind. A previous shortcoming in years gone by had been the music sometimes being so loud you couldn’t hear the lyrics to the songs. This was a great shame, because the lyrics are as madcap as anything he speaks. Thankfully, only the first song makes you strain to hear the words. His vocals will never be any different. I have said it before, and I will say it again; he sounds like Cat Stevens performing Frank Zappa material. This year, I feel the production values of his home-made backing tracks has improved. The sounds are sometimes dense and fully-realised. The style of each piece, whilst still being off-the-wall lunatic, changes from ballad to nursery rhyme to avant-garde atonal. I did feel – if I have any criticism to make – the songs weren’t as silly as usual. That said, is anyone ever going to better the opening song of 2017: ‘Santa Claus Is Eating Human Flesh’?
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. ‘Daddy’s Not Coming Back’ would never be a mainstream hit – but it is a heartbreaking song that deserves a life outside of this show. One thing you would never expect from a Twonkey show is a tear in your eye, but he managed it. If Leonard Cohen were still alive, he would totally own this song. Coincidentally, Vickers does namecheck Cohen later in the show.
There’s a routine about Michael Stipe and REM which leads into an REM spoof. It’s hard to tell if it’s mockery or a tribute, Twonkey’s lyrics making as much sense as Stipe’s always did (which is not a great deal) but it certainly sounds like an REM song – if it were having a drug trip in a funfair. Twonkey’s manager has always made me laugh. A huge false nose, cheap novelty sunglasses and the top of a Dracula mask put on upside down to resemble something between a quiff and Donald Trump. He gets Twonkey a booking in Liechtenstein, but later fails in his assassination attempt on Twonkey’s life by sending him a Semtex fez. Poor Sandy the duck, who has very little going for him anyway, takes the blast.
By this stage, Vickers is overheating, his shirt drenched in sweat. A man completely in his groove – which is very wide, and bounces off the walls of that groove to proceed. He brings out a Dracula glove puppet. Dracula leaps at a woman in the audience. She screams. It’s OK, though, because shortly before that Twonkey was hypnotising the same woman with finger puppets made from ping-pong balls. It’s swings and roundabouts.
I have no idea what my note ‘Naked Auntie’ means at this stage. I have to question if it’s in the show, or if my mind was so blasted I scribbled this down as some sort of catharsis. The end of the show? Twonkey finds diamonds and a bluebird inside a pumpkin. Of course he does. The Twonkey shows are a highlight of my Fringe. You know what you are going to get with one of them, unless you haven’t seen one before – in which case you will wonder what kind of wonderful Hell you’ve stumbled into. Not everyone is going to get it, but those that do are rewarded with an hour of surreal but aware nonsense. There are many comedians out there who are happy to tread this path, but Mr Twonkey leads the way like a Pied Piper with a karaoke machine and a bag of toys he found crushed under the wheel of a car. To quote the man himself: ‘It doesn’t matter if everything breaks. That’s how the show works’.
4 stars Jagazeen Maud Start.
A good, solid show. Mr Twonkey pulled it all out of the bag on this one, with his cheeky grin and an eccentric selection of puppets made in the 'Scottish Borders'. Thought I was in for a long one, when he came into the venue wearing a fake nose. I noted that the exit was in plain view of both the stage and the audience. No escape. Luckily, Mr Twonkey was fantastic. He had the room cracking up from start to end, with a little lull in the middle. Effortless, mighty booshesque, and bloody funny at times, Mr Twonkey was a treat.
Particularly tasty was the 'Transylvanian Finger Fantasy', which was so bloody bizarre, but the expression on Twonkey's face kind of made you melt a little. After the show, a couple of Mr Twonkey's acquaintances, scattered about the audience, raised their eyebrows and whispered to me 'He's like that all the time- he wasn't faking it.' So there you go. Mr Twonkey wasn't faking it. It was a real performance- and I give it a mighty four stars.
Photos Anna Venezia(Prague Fringe) and Tony Oudot (London show).

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.