All My Thoughts About Dusk: The New Twilight Musical Parody
This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s fall editorial intern Raven Minyard. Find her on Instagram at @raven.minyard. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at email@example.com.
The Twilight Renaissance has been in full swing for a few years now. Fans have found a renewed joy in consuming both the movies and the books, and if you step into a Hot Topic, you’ll find enough Twilight merch to feel like you just got transported back to 2009. Twihards have grown to appreciate Twilight in both an ironic and unironic way, and there are countless memes and inside jokes across the fandom. Well now, there’s another one. Allow me to introduce you to Dusk: the musical parody of Twilight. If your TikTok FYP is anything like mine, you may have seen a few snippets of the play as it prepared to debut at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe earlier this year. Now, the team has released a live recording for all of us Twilight fans who couldn’t see it in person. And of course, I had to watch it immediately. If you’re wondering if it’s worth the watch, keep reading for my thoughts on the Dusk musical Twilight parody.
The musical opens with main character Bia Stork (Bella Swan) telling her daughter R (Renesmee) about how she and Edwin Collins (Edward Cullen) met. Over the next two hours, we see the plot of Twilight in a brand new way: with an interpretive dance in place of the car crash scene, dancing eggs and baseballs, and an unrequited love between the characters parodying Charlie Swan and Carlisle Cullen. All of the key scenes of the first movie are included and are often accompanied by an original song. Those deep into Twilight lore and memes will also appreciate a number of inside jokes that made it into the production.
Co-writers Morgan Kennedy and Daniel Ruffing began working on Dusk in April 2022. In an interview with Playbill, Kennedy states, “With all the angst and melodrama, I felt like the story was just begging for its characters to burst into spontaneous song or dance. For years, I imagined how scenes from the books and movies could be staged and how entertaining well-designed tech could be for a musical adaptation. I never envisioned having any involvement in bringing a version of that to life, but this project has just felt like the right thing to be working on every step of the way so far.”
The musical quickly gained attention after the team began posting snippets of scenes on TikTok, and it debuted at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the biggest arts festival in the world, in August with several sold-out performances.
As someone who was a huge fan of Starkid’s A Very Potter Musical growing up, I had high hopes for Dusk. If I had to give it an official rating, however, it would probably get 3 stars. While there was a lot I enjoyed about the production, there were also several things I thought could’ve been done better.
Let’s start with what I enjoyed. Dusk is first and foremost made for true Twilight fans. Sure, we all roast it online and some people still make those “a better love story than Twilight” jokes, but it’s the inclusion of those jokes that show the care that went into creating this production. We get Bella’s excessive stuttering, all the jokes about Renesmee’s name (calling her Renaissance, Resuscitation, etc.), and the scene where Bella clearly does not know how to use a ketchup bottle. The characters refer to their God as “Stephenie,” and there’s even a jab at author Stephenie Meyer’s Mormonism when Bella goes to the Cullens’ house for the first time (Bella asks for coffee, and they all gasp and declare they aren’t sinners). These are all references that a casual viewer may not understand, but die-hard fans will love and appreciate.
This play also did the unthinkable; it made me like Renesmee. I will shout it from the rooftops: I have hated Renesmee Cullen since I first read Breaking Dawn back in 2008. I’ve always thought she was creepy and unnecessary. But even though she isn’t the focus or even included in most of the scenes, Dusk manages to make Renesmee a sympathetic character. In the opening scene, we see that she’s struggling to find her place in the world being half-vampire, half-human. There’s a bit of strain in her relationship with Bella, and there’s a hint that she’s not 100% okay with the whole imprinting thing. She’s sassy and sarcastic, and it’s fun to see how a teenage Renesmee would interact with socially awkward Bella.
And of course, the baseball scene. It’s the best part of the movie, and it’s the best part of the musical. I was really excited to see how this scene would be portrayed, and it’s absolutely excellent. It’s so over-the-top and dramatic, and I loved the way they used someone in a morph suit to show off all the crazy baseball tricks.
However, this play felt long. At just under two hours, it’s actually shorter than the Twilight movie, as well as a lot of stage productions, but parts of it dragged and lost my attention. I think there are scenes that could be cut down or taken out altogether without affecting the plot. For example, while I did find Charlie’s unrequited crush on Carlisle to be a fun nod to the internet’s favorite ship, it didn’t add much to the story. In my opinion, it should’ve played a bigger role or been a one-off joke to leave room for other scenes that would’ve moved the story along faster.
There were also characters and plot points I would’ve liked to seen more of. Even though Jacob isn’t a big part of the first movie, we all know how important he is to the series, so it would’ve been nice to see him interact with the others. I also thought some of Bella’s human friends could’ve been incorporated; we see a lot from Jessica and a bit from Angela, but I think it would’ve been funny to see the boys fighting over Bella, especially given how awkwardly they portray her in Dusk. And, of course, since we got the baseball scene, I wanted to see an interaction with the antagonists, James, Victoria and Laurent.
Lastly, the musical aspect fell flat for me. As I mentioned above, I loved A Very Potter Musical growing up, and those songs have stuck with me for years. They’re funny and distinct, and I can immediately tell which one I’m listening to. I don’t think the same can be said about the songs in Dusk. While the performers are talented, the songs themselves felt dull and all sounded the same. I think having more over-the-top numbers would’ve worked better here, especially since it’s a parody and not a serious production.
Overall, I do think Dusk is worth a watch for big Twilight fans, especially those who enjoy the memes, but it’s not something I can see myself ever watching a second time.
We hope you enjoyed this review of the Dusk musical Twilight parody! Have you watched it? Leave your thoughts in the comments!