MASTERFULLY written, musically accomplished, and a little bit bawdy, Twitchers has reminded me how much of a treat live theatre can be.

The Mikron Theatre Company tours towns without their own theatre, bringing first-class professional drama wherever the call takes them – more often than not, on their own canal boat.

On Friday, September 15, the call came from Winsford at the invitation of Friends of Winsford Town Park

Mikron’s shows tend to be 4-handers, with actor-musicians near the beginning of their professional careers taking several roles in each show, including that of the band.

Northwich Guardian: Everyone was rooting for Eddie Ahren's sweet-natured SammyEveryone was rooting for Eddie Ahren's sweet-natured Sammy (Image: Roblin Photography)

The 51-year-old company has its own writers, composers, directors, and set designers, so their shows are totally original, and highly topical.

And make no mistake – they’re also very, very good.

Twitchers is set on a bird reserve, the fictional RSPB Strikewing, and it’s the day before the BBC’s Springwatch production team are due to arrive to film.

Wardens Jess and Benji are going all out to make everything perfect, but their task is made more difficult when they town’s ambitious mayor turns up to lend a hand, along with her assistant Sammy - a shy, charming, and diffident ‘lockdown birder’.

Then the unthinkable happens – the water company dumps raw sewage into the reserve’s river, just as the Springwatch team are set to arrive.

Northwich Guardian: All four cast members are accomplished instrumentalists and singersAll four cast members are accomplished instrumentalists and singers (Image: Roblin Photography)

As the plot unfolds, instant costume changes – usually just different hats – invoke another timeline altogether: the history and development of the RSPB over the last 140 years.

And while all this is going on, the actors also manage to dramatise the lives of the reserve’s many bird species in truly hilarious, madcap, and peculiarly accurate fashion.

The songs in this show are fantastic. Ranging from the poignant ‘Flight song’ to the edgy ‘Seeing Red’ and the stirring ‘Nature’s voices’, the lyrics, instrumental, and vocal arrangements really are so good you get a bit of a shock when you look up and remember you’re in a school hall.  

The drama itself is as dynamic as the music: Jess’s anger when it dawns on her she’s fighting a losing battle for nature; the oh-so-cute love interest which develops between Benji and Sammy, drawn together by their shared enthusiasm for the natural world; the slow reveal as the mayor’s bumptious incompetence begins to crystalise into something more sinister.

This is a delightful production of a wonderful play. The actors themselves, all young, fresh, and brimming with enthusiasm, bring the full gamut of stage skills – they sing and play their instruments to a very high standard, they move around the stage beautifully, and they each know how to wring every laugh of the well-aimed gags.

I’ll tell you what I wasn’t expecting – the bawdiness. There’s no shortage of tit, booby, and breast gags, and I had a genuine ‘did I just hear that?’ moment when reports of the mayor’s exploits down the local dogging ground came to light.

If you’re thinking about getting tickets next time Friends of Winsford Park bring Mikron to town, I cannot recommend it highly enough. You’ll be in for a treat.

Or if you can't wait, catch them in Manchester on October 18 their other 2023 production, A Force to be Reckoned With.