The Original Theatre Company and Ghost Light Theatre Productions present this madcap comedy of manners in which class and culture collide in small-town England. Part of the annual Brits Off Broadway festival. More…
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 invite next door neighbors, Dawn and Alan, into their home. What follows is a disastrous evening of olives, anchovies, Karl Marx, and abstract art, with consequences as tragic as they are hilarious.
“This superbly written play has splendid direction by Stephen Darcy and features a stellar cast. ‘Invincible’ is a wholly entertaining yet emotive show that reminds us of why we love the theatre. Don't miss it…The cast of 'Invincible' delivers Torben Bett's wonderfully crafted dialogue with impeccable timing. There are laugh-out-loud scenes and some that are completely heartrending…This show should absolutely be on your summer must-see list.” Full Review
“A glorious reminder that sharp theater is alive and kicking...'Invincible’ will make you laugh, break your heart and leave you gobsmacked…Four characters, each one a masterpiece of individuation...Dawn and Alan are two of the most flesh and blood characters I’ve ever encountered...It’s practically impossible to convey the vigor, enthusiasm and inspired comedy of Graeme Brookes. His Alan is a showstopper...Do see this one. It’s the bee’s knees.” Full Review
"'Invincible' is a story that explores our views and expectations of others in the current political dynamic, utilizing a British culture clash. Amazingly, 'Invincible' does this with a large dose of humor, running from oddly quaint and British to dark humor that is jet black. And the four excellent actors deliver the show with honesty and surprising clarity." Full Review
"If a single play could be both laugh-out-loud funny and cry-out-loud sad at the same time it would be Torben Betts' fast-paced, high-energy, and consistently attention-grabbing 'Invincible'...It's also the rare play capable of handling multiple subjects and themes...The characters' exaggerated behavior is occasionally hilarious...Alan, as played...by the bearish Brooke, is especially memorable." Full Review
“An impressive play…The awkward encounter between the privileged hosts and their down-to-earth guests is a monumental clash of class and culture…The hilarious first act leads to darker moments in the second act…The characters are extremely vividly drawn and their problems resonate for us. The actors are all strong, especially Graeme Brookes, whose take on Alan is worth the price of admission…It’s a play that provides both lots of laughs and lots to think about.” Full Review
“Betts' ‘Invincible’ has been compared to Alan Ayckbourn's work. Although there are similarities, particularly in Betts' ear for capturing the jargon of his characters and his feel for social class distinctions, Ayckbourn's plays are more delicately constructed and make their points - whether social or emotional - more cleverly than Betts. Even so, ‘Invincible’ - the title a football reference - is satisfying as both a comedy and a drama, breaking more than a few hearts.” Full Review
“Betts has manipulated us cleverly to look at our own humanity and the humanity of those with class perspectives and behaviors precisely counter to our own...Darcy’s excellent direction and the tremendously affecting performances in this strong ensemble piece reveal ‘Invincible’ to be a complex, thought-provoking production which examines the best and worst of our prejudices and attitudes and the strength of human character required to be truly invincible in the face of loss.” Full Review
"In a hilarious first act, it seems the two families couldn’t be more different...As events unfold we find that they have for more in common than they would like. There are many great moments in 'Invincible,' but in particular Betts does a wonderful job of connecting his layered, complex, damaged characters on multiple levels in unexpected ways. Each character is an individual and every performance is pitch-perfect...A rare treat, a lovely, funny, smart and poignant piece of theater." Full Review
“The play does a fine job of shedding light on how difficult it is for members of the middle class and the working class to find common ground…If there is one problem with the play, it is the abruptness of the transition from the silliness of Act I to the more complex character development that takes place in the second half. But the four cast members are pitch-perfect under Stephen Darcy's direction." Full Review
"An entertaining and incisive drama...The ease with which all is integrated not only stems from the savvy play text but on the four excellent actors who make the characters come vividly alive...There are relationship ramifications all around as the play intensifies. The four actors are terrific and keep us involved. With the Brits Off Broadway series one can generally count on such acting expertise." Full Review
"'Invincible' is a terrific satire on leftist elitism that turns, quite suddenly, into affecting domestic drama. Though Mr. Betts follows an old and perhaps overused theatrical convention - a dinner party turned referendum on the relationships of those present - the humor is sharp and relentless, and the characters so clearly drawn, that it hardly matters." Full Review
"This clever, laugh-inducing play provides plenty of comedic relief along with some deeper thoughts regarding class...The characters themselves are stereotypes...However, these stereotypes become more complex and the sitcom humor widens and deepens into something far more thought-provoking...Each of the actors succeeds in transitioning their character from a superficial comedic sketch to a more complex and emotionally dramatic performance." Full Review
"A wonderfully entertaining first act...It is in the second act that everything comes together and that all the loose ends are tied up...By play’s end, we have also re-discovered deeper truths...Elizabeth Boag does an excellent job of revealing the dreams and aspirations that the lower-class poorly educated Dawn still harbors in her soul. And Alastair Whatley does a similarly fine job in exhibiting Oliver’s growth over time." Full Review
"The dynamics of class and intellectual/educational differences paired with the neurotic and stressed-out liberals all add up to a surprisingly strong cocktail too tasty to say no to...The dynamics of loss and the pain of motherhood and parenthood in general, are all slowly exposed but so many loose ends are left dangling. The performances are exacting and etched in detail and depth." Full Review
“Betts understands what ails his country, but his point is so broadly argued, and so stylistically wobbly, that it fails to land…The actors score intermittently…If Betts had worked more felicitously, ‘Invincible’ might have done for the English class divide what Lynn Nottage's 'Sweat' has done for the current state of American politics. Instead, it's all over the place, a stew of comedy, drama, and editorial commentary that never really coheres.” Full Review
"Betts’s play 'Invincible' is messy, heavy-handed and pandering, turning everything that Ayckbourn does so effortlessly in his class-conscious plays into fodder for cheap easy laughs...What in Ayckbourn are endearing eccentrics are in Betts’s hands easily manipulated chess pieces...Director Stephen Darcy makes it all go by in a whirlwind, and his expert cast both gets laughs and finds the poignance missing from Betts’s script." Full Review
“The opening sequence of ‘Invincible’ has exuberance and humor and the quirky vivid mannerisms of the characters/actors hold our attention. But in its subsequent two scenes, the play expands into dangerous territory, becoming baldly obvious, its clever lampooning overwhelmed by clichéd pathos. The mix of writing and acting styles here—naturalism versus theatricality—is interesting but finally distracting and off-putting.” Full Review
"A caustic comedy about country and class...Had it been staged a few years ago, it might have felt timely. Now its arguments are obvious at best...Despite a vein of Ayckbourn-esque melancholy and a nod toward state-of-the-nation seriousness, Betts and director Darcy keep surging past naturalism toward strident farce, then stumbling into tragedy. The production spells out what was already pretty intelligible and which recent elections have made glaringly evident." Full Review
"Under Darcy's sluggish direction, the ostensibly comedic first act mostly fizzles—despite strenuous efforts by the cast, especially Brookes as a garrulous oaf—and the much darker second act, which hinges on absent kids and a missing cat, is an overwrought bust. The characters reveal fears and disappointments that eat away at their souls, but it's hard to care about people who have been written as stereotypes. At the end one couple is completely broken, but the audience is merely bored." Full Review
“The only thing playwright Torben Betts forgot to include is humor. Neither director Stephen Darcy nor the cast supply it either…The problem with Betts's script isn't the presence of complications; it's their number and treatment…Darcy's direction does nothing to clarify matters…This inconsistency does the actors no favors. They play their parts with energy, but the result is an amplification of the script's contradictions and inanities.” Full Review
“Here are actors working so very hard and doing fine work, but they are impeded by an inadequate script and unimaginative direction. It’s like watching an athlete run up the down escalator over and over…Betts has written a play that tries to be too clever by half and is too long…These characters remain stereotypes and never become fully formed…Each of these actors is skilled at their craft and never wavers for an instant. In another play they would have been a pleasure to watch.” Full Review
for a previous production "A sharply observed bittersweet comedy about class...The first act lulls you into a false sense of security, with obvious laughter lines, but the comedy becomes darker in the second act and its characters reveal themselves to be flawed...Betts’ perceptive dialogue bristles with dark humor...Bowker gives a strong and emotive performance...The few moments that Brookes lets his guard down are incredibly moving, albeit fleeting...Simply superb." Full Review
for a previous production "Entertaining, thought-provoking and has a heart...The dialogue is sharp and fires across the stage at the speed of bullets from a machine gun. As a result, the pace of this bittersweet comedy never flags...Torben Betts, the director, and the cast have invested a lot in these characters and have resisted turning them into caricatures. They have made them into real people who you care about." Full Review
for a previous production "Betts’ superbly crafted play shines the spotlight on the north-south divide, stereotypes and political correctness. From laugh-out-loud moments to tragic revelations, this tightly-choreographed production has it all–the pendulum swing of emotions keeping the audience guessing to the very last...Refreshing, original and above all, highly entertaining, this is a bold statement from an emerging writing talent, and another fine production from the Original Theatre Company to boot." Full Review
for a previous production "Some issues do best as satirical or farcical comedies...Others sit less easily with the comic muse...Torben Betts, in this terrific play, is comfortable handling both, and does so with almost total success...Brookes’ performance is splendid, nuanced, genuine...The fate of Alan’s beloved cat becomes both comic and profoundly sad...As a portrait of flawed people in a Britain divided by class and also at war, it becomes genuinely beautiful as well as sharply perceptive...Catch!" Full Review
See it if you like amusing, somewhat farcical humor, but also has perceptive, serious insights into human nature that is extremely well acted.
Don't see it if you dislike farce and "in you face" humor.
Also The play was an excellent production with superb direction.
See it if you enjoy British dramedy, characters, and situations. This is not so far from our own society. Comedy turns quickly dark and insightful.
Don't see it if you have any difficulty with English accents, (these are not heavy), don't like comic shows that turn dark; drunken scenes; stereotypes.
See it if Great act one farcical laugh machine. Plenty of drama emerges in act two. Something for everyone in a rich stew. Cast is very cohesive.
Don't see it if Playwright misdirects audience with vast tonal shift. Set with no chairs is pointless and unrealistic.
See it if You'd like to see the gap between the classes done British style, a sort of Alan Ackbourne version of Lynn Nottage's Sweat
Don't see it if You want the comedy to last through both acts.
See it if you enjoy a British comedy that reflects the internationally relevant issues of class and politics with a bit of silliness and slapstick.
Don't see it if you only appreciate high brow humor.
See it if you like British humor.Acting is fine, but characters are all 1-dimensional, writing is preachy.
Don't see it if you want well rounded characters.2nd Act had too much about British politics that was impossible for me to follow, however relevant it is!
See it if British humor is your thing. Except for Benny Hill (whose theme song is used here) it's not MY thing. Yet, I thoroughly enjoyed this show.
Don't see it if straight-up comedy is what you want. Act I's humor is like a bandaid-prep that's ripped off in Act II. It totally works. Cast is EXCELLENT.
See it if English humor, satire of social classes & cultures; relationships; very funny parts & then some (in Act 2) that are touching & tragic
Don't see it if long even tho funny; some exaggerated behavior by characters - so that they become caricatures; contrived plots involving misunderstandings
Also Graeme Brookes was very funny
See it if you want 2 C a pleasant British show that has clever & funny performances, & becomes dramatic about new neighbors of different classes
Don't see it if you are not a fan of British style humor about the differences of class society & how it affects new neighbors in Northern England.
See it if Bickering middle class couple meets lower class couple and surprises ensue. Class evil + human foibles + farce. Some very funny moments.
Don't see it if A bit disjointed and confusing. It took some effort to figure out the significance of the neighbor's cat and the play's title.
See it if a bit of humor mixed in with commentary about politics, class, and relationships. acting was great, though!
Don't see it if you are looking for a light play or an original ending since it can be a bit contrived
See it if you enjoy dark comedies with British humor and themes of class and privilege. You like new British plays that are socially relevant .
Don't see it if you don't like a ridiculously funny act 1 turn into a more serious and dramatic act 2 (but this shift is well done).
See it if exaggerated communication between different classes would humor you
Don't see it if a more fine-tuned depiction of these issues instead of excessive caricatures would be preferred
See it if You love anything set in Britain, and the clash of culture topics it mines. The "rubes" and supremely, politically-correct are satirized.
Don't see it if You are expecting a laugh-fest. The second act is darker than expected. You like clarity, as some plot points are left hanging.
See it if u want a funny, well acted play that's like 5 episodes of a comedy drama series all in 1. Some clever moments leaning towards the pedestrian
Don't see it if u want cutting edge, masterful theater. All actors do well but my mind wandered a bit & I didn't feel totally moved at the end. Kinda cliche
See it if you like Alan Aychbourn plays that feature messed-up, over-the-top characters who are relatable. We know these people. We ARE these people.
Don't see it if you don't want to see couples fighting, grieving & struggling for meaning (perhaps bc you deal with that IRL). It pierced me - in a good way
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