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The Swing of Things was first performed on 4 October 2007 at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, with the following cast:

Lindsay,  Cate Hamer
Mark,  Neal Barry
Ruth,  Patti Clare
Steve,  Mark Spalding
Claude,  David Ajala
Caroline,  Vivien Parry

Director, Adam Barnard
Designer, Nancy Surman
Lighting Designer, Julie Washington
Stage Manager, Emily Vickers
Deputy Stage Manager, Andy Hall
Assistant Stage Manager, Emma Hanson

Mark Spalding, Neal Barry  and Cate Hamer

Patti Clare, Vivien Parry and Neal Barry

The Swing of Things

Snapping-point tension is frequently dissolved by brilliant comedy...the script so spiky you feel you’ve been caught in a barbed-wire fence...a gathering sense of unease...the playwright’s uncanny ability to make you feel like a furtive eavesdropper on private anguish...the squirming horror of overheard conversations… Uncomfortable? Very. Good? Lethally so.

This is dark comedy, not so much of discomfort but of embarrassment, and you could watch through a grill of fingers hiding your face. Everyone, audience and fine cast alike, emerges punch-drunk from the pulverising, unforgiving dialogue and the high-farce finale does not leaven the pain of what has gone before. Betts is mad at the world, its materialism and shallow fashions, and while it is equally hard to love his brittle, bashing play, it just might push you over the edge into craving an alternative life. Job done.

Playwright Torben Betts has been called everything from the next Alan Ayckbourn to the new Howard Barker. Yet his fifth play for the Stephen Joseph Theatre owes a considerable debt to the current Mike Leigh. As with Leigh, Betts's principal subject is the toe-curling awkwardness inspired by social embarrassment and personal failure…a toxic combination...commendably committed.

Reunions should be avoided at all costs, but this one makes good theatre...excellent, clear, to the point…well-plotted…
Nice evening at the theatre, make an effort to see this play.

Torben Betts is one of the most exciting theatre writing talents I have come across in many a year.

David Ajala and Vivien Parry

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