Twits not Twitter is story of the day at Thirlestane

The Twits is performed at Thirlestane Castle on July 13
The Twits is performed at Thirlestane Castle on July 13
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EATING worms, finding a glass eyeball in your beer and eating scraps from someone else’s bread – not a rugby club night out, rather the gruesome but enthralling Roald Dahl tale of The Twits.

Open-air group Illyria Theatre Company brings the children’s story to Thirlestane Castle at Lauder next month, and TheSouthern has four pairs of tickets to give away.

Published in 1980, The Twits signalled the start of a prolific spell for the fighter pilot turned writer, who went on to scribe George’s Marvellous Medicine, The BFG and The Witches in each of the following three years.

Describing Dahl’s story to feature at Lauder, an Illyria Theatre Company spokesperson said: “Mr and Mrs Twit loathe each other.

“They never wash and they live in a smelly old caravan next to a rotting tree.

“Bored of playing tricks on each other they decide to open a circus, capturing a family of monkeys and cruelly training them to perform in the ring.

“The local birds try to rescue the monkeys, but only with the audience’s help will the Twits meet a sticky end and the monkeys finally be set free.”

A long-awaited film version of The Twits is in the pipeline, with John Cleese among the writers and Conrad Vernon – who directed Shrek 2 and Aliens vs. Monsters – on board.

In 2010, Illyria became the first UK open-air touring company to be granted permission to perform the work of Dahl.

Their production of James and the Giant Peach was followed in 2011 with a sell-out season of Fantastic Mr Fox.

Event organiser Peter Ferguson from pdf Productions said: “Its great to invite the Illyria Theatre Company to the area each year as they never fail to entertain the sell-out audiences at every show they perform.

“We are really excited about this show as it will entertain the whole family.”

The audience are invited to bring a picnic to enjoy the performance in the grounds of the Lord Lieutenuant of Roxburgh, Ettrick and Lauderdale, Captain Gerald Maitland Carew’s home.

The Twits is performed on Friday, July 13, at 6.30pm. Tickets are priced at £12 for adults, £8 for children (15 years and under), or £36 for a family of two adults and two kids.

Tickets can be bought from, phone 01750 725480 or from Thirlestane Castle.

To win one of four pairs of tickets, answer this question:

In which year was The Twits published?

Send your answer, name, full address and phone number by email to or post to: The Twits Competition, The Southern Reporter, The Hermitage, High Street, Selkirk, TD7 4DA, by Thursday, July 5. Usual Southern rules apply.