The Fahrenheit Twins tells the tale of two young children - Tainto’lilith (Hayley Carmichael) and Marko’cain (Paul Hunter) - as they live and travel across the Arctic Tundra on an innocent quest to stop time and discover the unknown. For any company this rather improbable tale based on Michel Faber’s book would have been a challenge, but Told by an Idiot approach the demands of the story with playful imagination and neat experimentation.
Matthew Dunster’s direction makes full use of Naomi Wilkinson’s fantastic stage design, simple circular, moving rostra with a snow-encrusted slide on top, all picturesquely dusted in sparkles of ‘ice’. Throughout the short 80 minutes the audience suspends its disbelief as the two actors convincingly change characters between foxes, young twins, their parents and members of an arctic tribe. The music - an assorted range of rock tunes and rock pop ballads - helps narrate the journey as well as create differing moods and atmospheres, and is well deployed alongside Gareth Fry's clever sound design, enabling surprising moments of humour and reflection. This all adds up to a very slick production in which every technical aspect of the story has been well thought out.
Despite this, The Fahrenheit Twins presents questions about the nature of time and knowledge without ever really addressing them, which makes for frustrating viewing. It wants to be both humorous and thought provoking without ever fully achieving either. The play’s fable-like set up lends itself towards a dramatic moral ending which never arrives, and ultimately, the production doesn’t really unearth the crux of Faber’s short story.
Nevertheless, this lively production is certainly worth a viewing, if only to appreciate the many inventive theatrical techniques Told By An Idiot employ. While The Fahrenheit Twins is not the ticket for a fulfilling story, perhaps the unsatisfactory ending is what the author, Michel Faber intended.