Writer: Torben Betts
Director: Stephen Darcy
Reviewer: Hannah Powell
An incredible piece of theatre which is not only hilarious but also heart-warming and thought-provoking, Invincible depicts the story of Oliver (Alastair Whatley) and Emily (Emily Bowker), a couple more used to the southern way of things, as they relocate their family up north and have their first encounter with their neighbours. Emily, a left-wing, anti-government, and highly strung woman, and Oliver, a quiet, thoughtful, and awkward man, meet Football loving, England supporting, loud-mouth, patriotic Alan, and his gorgeous, ditzy, bold, and outspoken wife, Dawn.What is first thought to be an entirely comedic play transforms into a heart-wrenching piece about life, the people around us, and above all, love. The relationship between Alan (Graeme Brooks) and Dawn (Elizabeth Boag) is beautiful, every look, and every touch means something and displays the care and love they have for one another. Even as she insults or belittles him, or when he refuses to stop talking the relationship is still active, it isn’t just two actors but two actual characters giving the audience a small glimmer of their lives.
What makes this piece more enjoyable is the fact that each character is recognisable in some fashion. People can look at the four of them and name someone in their lives who is exactly like them or at least shares an uncanny resemblance. Most people know someone who is brutally honest with everyone they meet, or pretentious, or unbelievably stupid which makes the humour originate from a place of familiarity. Their awkward silences become our awkward silences, their confrontations become our confrontations.
The set is simple but effective, one room, the living room, with three different entrances and exits. A modern feel and insight into who might live there is given by the political books stacked all over the place, the children’s toys littering the floor, and the modern art hung proudly upon the walls. A small toy train running across a track covering the length of the stage signifies their journey in a clever and amusing way and so begins the play.
Each moment is given the time to land, and no line is wasted. Although it takes a little while to get used to the shrill nature of Bowker’s character, once that is achieved the audience can be fully absorbed within the story, which makes it only more emotional when misfortune is revealed for one or more of them. At times the music is too loud and some of the dialogue gets lost which is unfortunate as it is beautifully written, highlighting the north and south divide in a most recognisable form.
Runs until 4 February 2017 | Image: Jack Ladenburg