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Theatre

Let’s twist again

An elderly stranger on a Jamaican train bets a young US Navy cadet that his lighter won’t light ten times in a row. If it does, the stranger’s Cadillac is his. If not, he forfeits the little finger of his left hand. The cadet accepts. Wouldn’t you?

19 February 2011

6:00 AM

19 February 2011

6:00 AM

An elderly stranger on a Jamaican train bets a young US Navy cadet that his lighter won’t light ten times in a row. If it does, the stranger’s Cadillac is his. If not, he forfeits the little finger of his left hand. The cadet accepts. Wouldn’t you?

An elderly stranger on a Jamaican train bets a young US Navy cadet that his lighter won’t light ten times in a row. If it does, the stranger’s Cadillac is his. If not, he forfeits the little finger of his left hand. The cadet accepts. Wouldn’t you?


Dr Landy offers a philosopher friend the chance of a lifetime: to live on as a brain, and one dangling eyeball, floating in a basin of nutritive solution. ‘It would be a tremendous experience!’ he says. For all I know, he’s right.

The Lyric Hammersmith’s staging of five Roald Dahl stories (Twisted Tales, until 26 February) lures us into a world where everything makes perfect sense – even when it shouldn’t… To remind us how far we are from home Polly Findlay’s production has some moments of bizarre visual menace: Nick Fletcher (as Mr Palacios) wielding a meat cleaver in his upstretched hand, panting for the American boy’s little finger; the philosopher’s sole remaining pupil, projected on to a screen, dilating in mute fury at his wife’s taunts.

The transfer to stage is not always so successful, though. Jeremy Dyson’s version of ‘The Landlady’ makes clumsily explicit what in Dahl’s story is eerily implied. Take away the first-person narrative, and schoolboy William Perkins’s long-drawn-out beating at the hands of ‘Galloping Foxley’ (George Rainsford) — above — is just that: long-drawn-out, making it curiously hard to empathise. Come the fourth crack of cane on calves, I was getting bored.


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