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Twonkey’s Private Restaurant

Mata Hari Room @ Espionage, Edinburgh (Saturday August 16th)

By • Aug 17th, 2014 • Category: gig reviews

In the same way that Cheers is the bar where everyone nows your name, Twonkey’s is the one with a maitre d’ who knows where you live. Serving a clientele consisting of of “lost backpackers, the demented or murderers”, we’re welcomed into the surreal world of Paul Vickers. Clad in 19th century charity shop chic and a chef’s floppy hat, he’s operating a tiny balloon which, if you suspend disbelief, is central to the plot of tonight’s tale of time travel, puffer fish and dictators – the inedible in pursuit of the unfathomable. Or something.


It’s a musical with a difference – a string of strange set plays and stranger chat and decidedly sinister props, and when all three come together, well, that’s where the music comes into play. We’re served up duet between Vickers and gruesome rat / cat / head chef hybrid Hanratty, then a love song for what might be a lion called Chris and a unnamed hairy-arsed ‘green lady’ who isn’t, we’re told, all that keen on humanity.
Terrifyingly for the backpackers (though maybe less so for the murderers and demented present) there is also audience participation – a ship’s wheel festooned with Primark knickers from which Vickers divines the audience’s recent love trysts (and, eventually, becomes entangled in). There’s also pumpkin fisting (happily, not an euphemism).

The thing is, the tunes stand up as in the same way that even his most left-field material with Dawn of the Replicants and The Leg contained chart-friendly pop hooks – albeit done karaoke-style on this occasion, with accordion and off-kilter rhythms more likely to trouble a top 40 in another world where The Residents are kings of daytime radio.

But yes, Twonkey’s is the restaurant at the end of a parallel universe where a “hot beryl” (half beer, half gin with a Hawaiian-style pineapple in it) but whose effects wouldn’t rival the hallucinogenic properties of Twonkey’s musical menu.

Come the end the backpackers are sated and the demented are in fine fettle, and more than wiling to pay the suggested Free Fringe donation of a fiver – a punch in the mouth the other option offered by Vickers but seemingly even the murderers present have been entertained, or baffled, into submission.

Twonkey’s Private Restaurant is open at Laughing Horse @ Espionage (India Street, Grassmarket end of the Cowgate), evenings from 20:45, until August 24th.

One Response »

  1. @freefringefest Even the murderers present have been entertained!