Review: Roald Dahl’s Twisted Tales, Northern Stage, Newcastle, until March 26

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THIS was a pleasant throwback to black and white television, when the world was a lot more naïve and programmes of classic horror and supernatural relied on imagination and subtlety rather than in-your-face violence, blood and gore.

Roald Dahl may be best known for children’s dark stories like Willy Wonka and The Witches but he also wrote short horror stories for adults.

The League of Gentlemen’s Jeremy Dyson has adapted five of Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected and it’s cracking fun. Each is firmly tongue in cheek.

There’s the tale of a lonely traveller and a landlady who has a penchant for poisoning living things and stuffing them.

Then there’s a delightful story of an adulterous dentist’s wife who pawns her mink coat and discovers she’s not the only one cheating.

Next is a darker story about a man who strikes a bet of his little finger against a Cadillac if his lighter will spark 10 times in a row.

The last two tales deal with revenge as a bullied wife takes control of her deceased husband’s living brain and a child fag at public school shoots his tormentor many years later.

Some stories are better than others and there wasn’t generally enough suspense but they all entertain nicely, running continuous for 80 minutes.  

The direction was seamless while the cast of George Rainsford, Nick Fletcher, Alexandra Maher, Larry McCartney, Jonathan Danciger, Trevor White and, particularly, Selina Griffiths were superb.