Invincible

  • Theatre
  • Off-West End
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© James Albrecht

'Invincible'

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© James Albrecht

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© James Albrecht

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© James Albrecht

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© James Albrecht

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© Robert Day

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© Robert Day

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© Robert Day

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© Robert Day

'Invincible'

The first 30 minutes of Torben Betts’s comedy are about Awful People. You are guaranteed to wince, more than once, at the sheer twatishness of his characters.

There’s Emily (Laura Howard), a socialist of almost psychotic proportions, who has moved from London to a deprived area in the north of England with her partner Oliver and kids because they’re struggling in the recession. She’s angry with the banks, MPs (and pretty much everything else), has no sense of humour, thinks football dumbs down the masses and wants to experience ‘real people’. Oliver (Darren Strange) panders to her untenable beliefs and tiptoes around her, hoping at some point she’ll stop being so pissed off.

They invite their new neighbours over. Alan (Daniel Copeland) is an overweight postie who loves his cat, football and his country, drinks beer only from a can, can’t stop talking and thinks Karl Marx was a comedian, while his fake-tan wife Dawn (Samantha Seager) is bored, unhappy and has a wandering eye. Both of them have lived in the area their whole lives.  

Betts puts these cultural and class contradictions in a room together over one night and, inevitably, hilarious and excruciating sparks fly. But ‘Invincible’ is infinitely more subtle than pitting ‘rich’ and ‘poor’ against each other. The characters are exceptionally well-developed and from the initial stereotypes, believable souls begin to emerge. Without feeling burdensome, the play goes some way to demonstrating how government policy affects people from different socio-economic backgrounds. But it also becomes a piece about neighbourliness, kindness, about war, fighting for your country and not being truthful with yourself.

Ellie Jones’s production – a rare transfer from the Orange Tree in Richmond – keeps things moving and leaves space for the strong cast to shine, although several misguided intervals of dancing in between scenes breaks the tension unnecessarily. Howard is very good as the entirely irritating Emily, while Copeland brings a tangibly vulnerable subtext to his portrayal of the belly-chuckling Alan. The second half drags a little, but by the end, the clashing dynamic of these odd-couples will, at the very least, have made you think.

Average User Rating

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LiveReviews|2
1 person listening
Roger G

Saw it at the Orange Tree in April and enjoyed it. Funny and sad and topical. Football and war. The most successful play ever staged at the Orange Tree and there have been lots. Glad to see the original cast gets a chance to tread the west end boards.

Lynda W

Thoroughly enjoyable - tragic/comedy that is comparable to Abigail's Party, but with meaning and substance. See it!