“Served with scones of shame and finger sandwiches of pain”.
Tom Alan Robbins’s steampunk web series in five parts is an entertaining romp, streaming on the Broadway Podcast Network. Cyril Chippington-Smythe (Michael Urie) and his ancient steampowered retainer Bentley (Dakin Matthews) open the story with Wildeian epigrams and a raft of eccentricity.
In a tale of love, life, and destruction, the club-owning Chippington-Smythe has to deal with his posh twit cousin Binky (Christian Borle), the dentally-challenged Alice Witherspoon (Helen Cespedes) and his Lady Bracknellish Aunt Hypatia (Mary Testa).
Add a lot of flower talk (Kiera Allen as Pansy Freehold is a hoot), and more as James Monroe Iglehart, Stephen DeRosa, Lilias White, Ann Harada, Taylor Iman Jones, Nick Sullivan, and Teddy Yudain complete a cast adept at comic timing and exaggerated voices.
Twits in Love is created by Robbins, co-directed by Robbins and Dori Berinstein, and produced by Berinstein, Alan Seales, and Broadway Podcast Network. Sound design and editing is by Brett Ashleigh, sound engineering by Seales, Brittany Bigelow, and Kimberlee Garris.
The episodes already released have left the story tottering on a luncheon comedy cliffhanger, but early access to the fourth and fifth pieces of the puzzle allowed me to complete the show in time for a Christmas recommendation.
The wordplay is fun, and the performances are lively and just short of over the top. Moments allude to climate devastation as well as arranged romances, yet this world is vaguely unfamiliar – there are few innovations or inventions here. Cucumber sandwiches become “cheesy” but the effect is the same.
You will find Twits in Love a light, frothy, and clever piece which takes Victorian dramatics as its source, but moves them into the area of quick-witted parody. I especially enjoyed the voice work and sound effects.
Listen to the series here (episode 4 was released this week).