Writer: Torben Betts
Director: Christopher Harper
Reviewer: Ann Bawtree
The Original Theatre Company has brought a new play Invincible by Torben Betts in a co-production with the Theatre Royal, Bury St. Edmunds to Guildford as part of an extended UK tour.
Four actors, Kerry Bennett, Emily Bowker, Graeme Brookes, and Alastair Whatley play respectively two couples, Oliver and Emily, Dawn and Alan. The action takes place in the parlour of Oliver and Emily’s rented workman’s cottage in the rural North of England. They have moved there from London with idealistic dreams of changing their urbanised lives to live among – real people.
The stage is set with a backcloth depicting a high rough wall bearing political slogans. A tiny Lego-style city lies at its foot. Beyond are the shadowy hills with Sir Antony Gormley’s Angel of the Northbrooding but tiny in the distance. The passage of time is marked with the alteration of the sky and scenes change to the accompaniment of Elgar.
Emily and Oliver attempt to make friendly overtures to the couple next door and the story continues with their developing relationship, such as it is.
Torben Betts’ characters are distinctly drawn without being archetypical. Dawn and Alan are a conventional married couple whereas the Londoners, Oliver and Emily, are simply partners, being in their own eyes, too clever and sophisticated to bow to such convention. Children on both sides are spoken of, elderly parents too, but the main off stage character is Dawn and Alan’s cat, the Invincible of the title.
There is much to laugh at including the witty dialogue, but there are tragedies as well. Oliver and Emily argue over politics while all the football-obsessed Alan can do is adore his voluptuous wife and laugh hilariously and constantly at his own jokes. One-liners and asides bring gales of laughter from a delighted audience.
Runs until 9 April 2016 | Image Jack Ladenburg