The slightly dingy basement of a Tiki bar is not the place you would normally find a cabaret show, but it is curiously fitting for the dark delights of The Twins Macabre. Nic Lamont and Adam Rhys-Davies are Ivy and Maurice Macabre, psychic ten year-old twins with more blood on their hands than a butcher convention. The demonic duo have been left to their own devices since the “tragic accidents” that have befallen every authority figure in their lives, and they’re keen to introduce the audience to their perpetual, perverted Playtime.
The pair utilise myriad skills in this dark vaudeville. Storytelling, song-and-dance, and low-fi prop inventiveness are all present and correct in a breathless romp of a show that barrels from one twisted skit to an another. The suspicious death of their parents is recounted, cuddly toys suffer various indignities, and they demonstrate their psychic abilities to the “hostages” that make up the audience.
Putting a creepy, gothic spin on the traditional double act is a great gimmick from which the Twins get full mileage. The lineage of their comedy is clear. From The Addams Family, through the darker view of childhood of Roald Dahl, films like The Omen, and the character-driven sketch genius of The League of Gentlemen; and Lamont and Rhys-Davies have moulded these influences into something recognisably their own. The pair have obviously been immersed in horror for a long time (both also recently starred in comedy-horror Egomaniac), and that love of everything ghoulish is clear to see.
As occasionally messy and ramshackle as it is, partly due to the cramped and slightly dingy location, Playtime is an awful lot of fun, or a lot of awful fun. The chemistry between Lamont and Rhys-Davies is undeniable, and they inhabit their roles with the glee of, well, kids at play time. Anyone that likes a dose of nastiness with their comedy will find much to enjoy with The Twins Macabre.