Twitchers [Mikron Theatre] – Review – Marsden Mechanics Hall

Twitchers Mikron Harvey Badger Eddie Ahrens Rachel Hammond Hannah Baker Copyright Robling Photography_

By Steve Crabtree, April 2023

When there’s a new production announced by Mikron Theatre company, someone in our household or close family finds out where the nearest performances to us are, and lets the rest of us know.

It was my turn for this one. And I managed to secure five tickets to see the opening night of Twitchers at Marsden Mechanics Hall, near Huddersfield. Much to everyone’s delight.

We’re all big fans of the company, what they do and how they do it.  Often you find out what their next play is going to be, and wonder how on earth they’re going pull it out of the bag. But they do it, they always do it, and they do it SO well. Twitchers is no different.

Tonight’s story tells us about Jess and the team at Shrikewing Bird Reserve. They’re preparing for TV’s Springwatch to visit, and Jess’s healthy/unhealthy (delete as appropriate) obsession with Chris Packham is packing her every action with excitement. But the visit isn’t going to come without a few issues to deal with.  There’s a dodgy mayor who reaks havoc on the place, and there are inconsiderate dog walkers to contend with too. In and amongst this, there’s vandalism and contaminated water. Will Mr Packham ever make it to the reserve…?

Twitchers Mikron L to R Hannah Baker Eddie Ahrens Harvey Badger Rachel Hammond by Robling Photography

“The perfect cast”

Opening night for Twitchers was a sell-out, and we were all happy as larks for the two hours we were watching. With a simple backdrop resembling a bird hide, we had a few musical instruments carefully positioned at either side, along with what looked to be random props that eventually fitted right into the show as the performance took hold.

And, as always, Mikron gave us the perfect cast for Twitchers.  All of them played a number of small parts, but absolutely delighted in their main roles.

Hannah Baker was a brilliant, upbeat and loveable Reserve Warden Jess. And, as well as the laugh-inducing Reggie, Rachel Hammond gave us a very unhinged and hysterically eccentric mayoress.  Eddie Ahren’s portrayal of the young lockdown birdwatcher Sammy was lovely. And Harvey Badger nicely played Benji, the more hard-nosed and sarcastic warden.

Sometimes, I wonder, what Mikron ask from their auditionees? Can you talk like a pair of old married crows?  Can you play the kazoo like a penguin?

The unexpected funnies in Twitchers eventually become expected, and I loved the humour which ran right throughout the performance. With a few lengthy monologue-type bits of script here and there too, there was an array of talent coming out of all four performers. As if playing multiple instruments such as the flute, guitar, accordion and more wasn’t enough. Add into that the songs as well (if you never witness ‘Bird Table Glee’, you’ll forever be deprived) and Twitchers really did spoil and excite us.

Twitchers Mikron L to R Eddie Ahrens Hannah Baker Rachel Hammond Harvey Badger by Robling Photography

“A production that has everything”

Whilst offering us this abundance of entertainment, Twitchers educates too.  As with Raising Agents from last year, this story includes a whistle-stop history of the subject: The RSPB.  They do it in a really clever way, and without turning the production into a lesson. But it does handle a very important and intriguing subject, whilst warming you to the pastime of bird watching. It’s a production that has everything.

One of our party made a fantastic point about the Mikron, and tonight’s cast in particular: Any budding actor or drama student should study how Mikron do things, and learn that the subtle change of prop or the placing of a hat can have as powerful impact on acting out a scene as clever lighting, expensive costumes and world class scenery can. IF you have the acting talent, that is. And I couldn’t agree more.

We found out at the end of the performance that Harvey and Eddie were making their professional debuts that evening.  I think everyone in the room were surprised at the news – they’d certainly done a great job. It was a credit to them as to how polished and perfect they were.  The evening was just full of good things, and it’s great to have the Mikron back and on their usual great form.

It’s a show that shouldn’t be missed, and there’s plenty of opportunity for everyone to get a ticket for Twitchers.

You can catch Twitchers on various dates between now and 19th September at locations within
Halifax, Bradford, Huddersfield and other parts of Yorkshire. Visit for details.

Images: Robling Photography


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