“Invincible” by The Original Theatre Company
With the recession biting hard, Emily and Oliver have decided to downsize and shift their middle-class London lifestyle to a small town in the north of England. One night they open their doors and invite next door neighbours, Dawn and Alan into their home. Over the course of a disastrous evening of olives, anchovies, Karl Marx and abstract art; class and culture collide where the consequences are as tragic as they are hilarious.
Written by Torben Betts, this play starts out as a good little comedy piece but develops into something a little darker. Slowly stories from the past reveal themselves on both sides, especially when political subjects are brought up and drink starts to flow. The ending is not a totally happy one and not all the questions get an answer.
"Invincible" is billed as a comedy and for the most part it is. The comedy is very well written and is borne from the natural situations the two pairs find themselves in.
There are the expected differences in the North/South divide, the two ways of life, cultural and otherwise but as we find out they have several things in common and these start to create the cracks that appear so apparent as the play continues.
Our two Southeners, Emily and Oliver are played by Emily Bowker and Alistair Whatley. Two excellent actors who keep us guessing all the way through. It at first seems strange that Emily is so hell bent on checking on her young daughter and Oliver wants to rebel against Emily's beliefs and lifestyle and opinions. Both reasons for this behaviour is soon unfurled.
The Northern neighbours Dawn and Alan, played with equal excellence by Elizabeth Boag and Graeme Brookes. Again there is repression and secrets and ultimate heartache but how different are the pair at the end from when we first see them.
I was totally drawn in to these two couples story and their lives ina way that I've not been reeled in for a long time; maybe with it being a new story to me, I don't know but you find yourself unable to take your eyes off of this Derby Theatre stage and these magnificent actors who play out this magnetic story.
Torben Betts, I'll admit, I've not heard of before but I intend to make sure that I search out some of his many other works after seeing this classy piece of theatre.You can see why Alan Ayckbourn is such a fan of his work.
Stephen Darcy is the director of "Invincible" and he has succeeded in maintaining that mystery, tension and comedy, helping create one of the best new plays I've had the pleasure of in a long time.
"Invincible" is at Derby Theatre only until Saturday 4 February 2017 and it's one that I would recommend to anyone who loves a good story with some very good twists performed by four totally believable actors.