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Sunday Times review of Invincible, at the St James Theatre, London on 20th July 2014



Torben Betts's play opens on a wearily familiat scene: a sitting roon, its floor littered with toddlers' plastic detritus, its walls daubed with tester patches of Farrow & Ball. Oliver (Darren Strange) and Emily (laura Howard), squeezed middlers forced north from London, are getting ready to entertain theor neighbours, Dawn (Samantha Seager() and Alan (Daniel Copeland) - or "The locals" as Emily prefers it. It is not just this set-up that has led to comparisons between Betts' tragicomedy and Edward Albee or Alan Ayckbourn. This is a vastly entertaining, deftly acted poduction that moves fairly effortlessly from high farce to pathos, just stopping short of melodrama. Yes, characters are archetypal, but the comedy here, especially at the expense of the southerners, is wincingly well-observed. When Oliver declares "I am not living in the north of England for a second longer" the Belgravia audience cheers. Its next stop should be Rotherham.

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