Pros: Slick well told stories with some fantastic characterisation.
Cons: Quite short and lacking a sense of style and originality.
The Terrible Tale of the Tiddly Widdlies is set in an imaginary British village netherworld, Lagging Gallows, populated by a collection of strange and eccentric characters… and some man-eating pigs. It’s like from the League of Gentleman. The whole show is spoken in rhyme as we switch from story to story and back again, and this is what really works about this play; the pacing is almost perfect.
Clem Garritty and Oliver Jones are the many faces of the inhabitants of the village. Though perhaps ‘many faces’ is the wrong phrase, as you can’t actually see their faces. They spend the whole show with their heads wrapped tightly in bandages. This provides both an odd creepy effect.
We are presented with three stories: firstly, the rather gory tale of three night wanderers being chased down by a horde of man-eating pigs. Then we get the daft but insidious tale of two elderly stagehands at the local amateur dramatics club, plotting changes to a traditional and well-loved script. The disposal of a particularly plump Peter Pan mid-performance is their grim goal. The final story relays the sad and tragic fate of two lady friends and the consequences of an April Fool’s joke gone awry when they try to swap faces a la the film Face Off. The stories are interspersed with each other throughout the show. The stories seemed to be vaguely related, in that they are set in the same village, but there is definitely a missed opportunity to integrate the stories together more.
The strength of this show is the chemistry between the two actors. It is extremely fun to watch the interplay and choreography between the two. They prance and hop around and play off each other effortlessly, while props and scene changes are expertly incorporated into the narrative. At times it is almost like watching a dance routine – or should I say a dance of death. Every movement and sound has been thought through. And it’s quite a sublime experience to watch the two rendering such diverse characters in the space of a breath. There is certainly immense talent there.
Overall it is a thoroughly witty and entertaining show. The play just lacks something to spark emotional involvement – I find the constant rhyming a little distracting in this respect. The script concentrates a little too much on laughs and obscurity to generate any real emotion from the characters. The Terrible Tale of the Tiddly Widdlies shows a lot of promise, though just falls short of claiming an identity of its own.
Writers: Clem Garritty and Oliver Jones
Music: Elliot Rennie
Box Office: 0207 383 9034 Booking link: http://newdiorama.com/whats-on/the-terrible-tale-of-the-twiddly-widdlies
Booking until: 5th December 2015