Roald Dahl’s ‘The Twits’ at the Manoel this Christmas

Ready for some slapstick family fun this festive season? Opening on Boxing Day, Roald Dahl’s The Twits is coming to Teatru Manoel for the first time ever

Eliza Aquilina and Jayne Giordanella
Eliza Aquilina and Jayne Giordanella

Young mischief-makers (or the mischievous young at heart) get set: a new show at the Manoel is preparing to add a good dose of monkeying around to your family’s Merry Christmas!

From 26 to 30 December, a stellar cast will bring Roald Dahl’s The Twits to life on the Manoel stage. Produced by Teatru Manoel, created by Masquerade Malta and adapted and directed by acclaimed theatre director Ian Moore, Dahl’s much-loved children’s classic with a wicked sense of humour has transformed into a colourful and chaotic circus-style show packed with music, dance and drama.

In the exciting and extraordinary story, we meet the deeply unpleasant Mr and Mrs Twit. They are nasty to each other, and they are vile to everyone else. To make matters worse, they hold a family of monkeys called the Muggle-Wumps hostage in a cage and make them stand on their heads – all the time! Can the clever Muggle-Wumps and the magnificent Roly-Poly bird outwit the vicious Twits and teach them a lesson in how to be nice?

Much like the rest of Dahl’s books, The Twits is a charming, moral tale about being loving, caring and being nice to one another. As the author himself wrote: “A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts, it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

Dahl has three entries in the BBC Top 100 confirming that he is one of the nation’s best-loved authors, for both children and adults alike. The Twits this Christmas promises to live up to his legend, thanks to the imagination of the cast, creative team, costume department and make-up artists. Watching three adults playing monkeys will certainly be hilarious!

Malta’s national theatre production of Roald Dahl’s The Twits features a cast of well-known actors and rising stars including Katherine Brown as Ringmaster and the Roly-Poly bird, Eliza Aquilina and Jayne Giordanella as Mr and Mrs Twit, Matthew Cilia and Bertha Farrugia as Mr and Mrs Muggle-Wump and Emily Abela as their daughter.

“I play Mrs Twit and she’s not a particularly nice person,” Giordanella explained. “She has had ugly thoughts over many years that have made her into quite the ugly person all-round. The sight of her could curdle milk and her favourite things to do are playing nasty tricks on her husband and using her walking stick to hit things!”

Meanwhile, Masquerade’s production coordinators Anthony Bezzina and Veronica Bezzina lead a highly experienced and hugely talented creative team behind the scenes, with set design by Romualdo Moretti, costume design by Louie Noir, hair design by Michael and Guy, make-up design by Krista Paris and flying by Audrick Plum.

“For me, the biggest highlight of the rehearsal process has been falling over on purpose so often while practising our routines and spending a good amount of time upside down!” Abela said, giving a glimpse of what’s to come in her role as Muggle-Wump Daughter.

“This is closest you can get to having a panto-like atmosphere, so families especially will love the show this Christmas. It will be a wonderful experience for children, and it may even inspire them to read the book. But don’t worry parents – you will find the jokes funny too!”

In fact, the cast seems to have enjoyed embodying the wonderful silliness of it all during rehearsals just as much as audiences will as they watch the hilarious story unfold on stage. “I’ve loved taking part in the circus routines with the other monkeys and climbing on high surfaces in the cage,” Farrugia shared. 

“And my favourite part has been watching all the monkeys perform!” Aquilina agreed. “The actors are incredibly talented, and their animal work has great detail. I could spend all day watching them. Plus, it’s fascinating to see a family sacrificing its own hopes and dreams for another family. The Twits is a spectacle for everyone, and kids will absolutely love it.”

With a festive season that comes following a difficult couple of years for the theatre and art's communities – and another without Malta’s traditional host of Christmas pantomimes – Roald Dahl’s The Twits offers a joyful chance for artists and creatives to celebrate Christmas once again by delighting audiences young and old from the national theatre’s famous stage.

“The Twits brings its own kind of Christmas magic to the mix – and while it is not a pantomime, it is still hugely fun and fantastical with audience interaction, breath-taking sets and costumes and, of course, the wonder of flying. At last, families can reinstate their festive tradition of going to the theatre together!” Teatru Manoel CEO Massimo Zammit said. “This wonderfully wild show will bring back the Christmas spirit and, for an hour, let us all leave the cares of the world outside, settle down in the safe and warm surroundings of the Manoel, and enjoy a side-splitting festive laugh in the company of our loved ones.”

The Twits will be performed at Teatru Manoel, Valletta at 3pm, 6pm and 9pm on 26 December, then at 4pm and 7pm on 27, 28, 29 and 30 December. The show is suitable for brave children aged six and above and their families and is staged in line with all current COVID-19 protocols. For more information and to book tickets, visit, call on +356 2124 6389 or email on [email protected].

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