If you grew up in Australia in the ’90s and early 2000s, you grew up watching Round the Twist. There were just four seasons of the absurdist, supernatural TV series, which was based on Paul Jennings’s short-story collection Unreal, yet it’s considered one of the most significant Australian kids’ shows ever made.
Now, it’s coming to the stage.
RGM Productions, the London-based theatre company behind musicals including Priscilla Queen of the Desert, today announced it’s begun developing a stage adaptation of Round the Twist, following a successful application to the Australian Government’s Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) fund.
The idea came from up-and-coming writer-composer Paul Hodge, who approached Paul Jennings and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF) to turn the show into a musical.
“ACTF is especially protective of Round the Twist – it’s the show that put us on the world stage and is so beloved of generations of kids that have grown up with it over the last 30 years,” Jenny Buckland, CEO of the ACTF, said in a press release. “Paul Hodge is one of that generation and when he pitched his ideas, it convinced us to let him have a go at turning it into a musical. Paul’s brought the spirit and all the touchstones of the series into the show – the characters so faithfully drawn to the original, the quirky humour, the strange things that happen and the huge heart. This show is going to be a real crowd pleaser.”
“Music has always been a core part of the series,” Hodge said in the same press release. “The mystery behind the eerie music playing in the lighthouse underpins the show’s first season and the show’s iconic, unforgettable theme song, written by the amazing Andrew Duffield, will play a key part in the musical adaptation.”
You can hear it now, can’t you? Have you ever? Ever felt like this?
The show is being produced by RGM’s Australian co-founder, Garry McQuinn, who’s worked on other big shows including Tap Dogs, Gumboots and Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, while Simon Phillips (Muriel’s Wedding and Priscilla Queen of the Desert) has signed on to direct it.
There’s no word yet on when or where Round the Twist the Musical will premiere, but we sincerely hope Australia will have the honour. The show had enormous success overseas, premiering on the BBC in England and eventually airing in more than 70 countries.
Today’s announcement coincides with the original show’s recent addition to Netflix Australia, where all four seasons are available to watch now (it's not currently on ABC iView). Time to revisit some old memories?