Twonkey’s Private Restaurant – Free

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review (cabaret): Twonkey’s Private Restaurant – Free at Laughing Horse @ Espionage (Venue 185). Review by Claire Smith

What a delight to enter the inexplicable world of Twonkey. A red and white hot-air balloon flies over our heads. Fortunes are told with a ship’s wheel and some knickers. And we watch a German woman fisting a pumpkin.

Mr Twonkey, aka Paul Vickers, aka former front man of indie pop band Dawn of the Replicants, is a one-off. Wearing an old-fashioned black and red frock coat and a squashed chef’s hat, Mr Twonkey invites us into his restaurant for an evening of refined dining and entertainment.

His characters are a moth- eaten Seventies lion, called Chris Hutchinson, a very hairy lady who has no name, and a revolting ragged cat called Hanratty. Twonkey fumbles with his puppets, attempts ventriloquism spectacularly badly and tells a bizarre and mind-boggling tale involving time travel, Mussolini and a disastrous dinner date.

There are lots of new songs. Vickers is in fine voice and he is more musically eclectic than ever before. He performs a duet with Hanratty, who sings in Italian, he croons a love song to the puppet lady, there is a Spandau Ballet-esque number and a Hawaiian-style remix of his popular song Hot Beryl. He even attempts a dance routine – jogging backwards and forwards across the tiny room, trying not to get out of breath.

There are, he says, very few jokes in the show. But there is something naturally funny about Mr Twonkey. If you get it you will laugh and laugh. If you don’t, you will be completely confused and slightly terrified. The trick is to sit back, relax, stop worrying about what any of it means and allow yourself to be carried away by a sublime cloud of nonsense. Once you tune in to Radio Twonkey there is no going back.

Until 24 August. Today 8:45pm, more info

Originally published in The Scotsman

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