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Invincible

Members say: Funny, Great acting, Entertaining, Absorbing, Relevant
76
Critics
70
27 reviews
Members
78
119 reviews
 

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.

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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. 

 

Cast & Creatives (13)



Reviews (146)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
70
Avg Score

95
BroadwayWorld

“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

40
The New York Times

"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

40
Time Out New York

"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

45
Lighting & Sound America

“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

25
Front Row Center

“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

90
Theatre's Leiter Side

"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

78
Front Mezz Junkies

"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

90
Bob's Theater Blog

“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

80
Talkin' Broadway

“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

80
Wolf Entertainment Guide

"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

35
Theatermania

“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

90
TheaterScene.net

“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

80
Theatre is Easy

"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

90
Carole Di Tosti

“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

80
scribicide

"'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

93
Reviews Off Broadway

"'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

80
A Seat on the Aisle

"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

85
Woman Around Town

"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

45
Film Festival Traveler

"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

45
Escape Into Life

“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

95
Theater Pizzazz

“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

85
Theatre Cat

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

90
The Stage 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

90
East Anglian Daily Times

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

70
British Theatre Guide

for a previous production "At the beginning, the characters are so very stereotypical that they don’t seem real at all, but gradually their inner selves are revealed...Not an easy play as speech is very rapid and often one is speaking on top of another as they argue out their case with anger rising...Very well acted...Smartly directed...Interesting and amusing but not wildly funny, although many in the audience would disagree with me." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
78
Avg Score

67
Great acting, Disappointing, Slow, Repetitive, Well intended

See it if English class distinctions amuse you.

Don't see it if you are expecting an American style comedy. There are some funny moments but overall this is a depressing experience.

82
Funny, Quirky, Relevant, Entertaining

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.

81
Funny, Slow, Underwhelming, Entertaining, Great set

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!

73
Vividly shows that bernie vs. hillary vs. trump political/class divide pervades the uk as well

See it if fine ensemble shows in hilarious 1st act and moving 2nd act corrosive nature of class divide

Don't see it if tonal differences btwn broad comedic 1st act & contrived 2nd act psychological drama so stark feel as if seeing 2 different plays

80
Ambitious, Edgy

See it if A treat for those that love British theatre. A comedy that is given a chance to be seen here.

Don't see it if You have limited interest in seeing a British import that is off broadway.

75
Funny, Absorbing, Edgy, Great acting, Entertaining

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).

80
Intelligent, Relevant, Excellent acting, Very entertaining, Farcical start / serious end

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.

Also Was really hesitant to see it, as I don't get/or like British sarcasm.... Read more Read less

75
Ambitious, Great acting, Relevant, Indulgent, Disappointing

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

74
Well-paced, Topnotch acting, Dated material, British class conflict

See it if An edgy piece wherein the first act action & characterizations don't quite match with the second, but interesting & powerful themes are re-

Don't see it if ...vealed. Every surface can obscure a secret. Wonderful performances of stock characters but we've seen this clash of class before.

86
Intelligent, Must see, Refreshing, Great writing

See it if you want to laugh your ass off while being moved at the same time.

Don't see it if you are just expecting a fluffy comedy. This is way more than that but in a very good way

Also I was expecting to see a British comedy with no substance. This was wa... Read more Read less

20
Disappointing, Cliched, Flawed script, Flawed direction/staging!, Offensive!

See it if U want to see banal senseless uncreative story that seems to contradict the writer's intentions to satirize values of different classes.

Don't see it if U are bothered by depraved perverted use of animal cruelty/abusive killing as the denominator for a sick so-called dark comedy that is cheap

Also Torben Betts wrote an unimaginative script that is flawed, troubling &... Read more Read less

80
Funny, Great acting, Relevant, Entertaining

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

80
Funny, Clever, Comedic, good acting

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.

80
Funny, Clever, Edgy, Raunchy, Relevant

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.

75
Funny, Slow, Entertaining, Farcical, Hackneyed

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

85
Funny, Great acting, Relevant

See it if you are interested in Class divide between two couples.Political & personal creating a very well acted emotional rollercoaster

Don't see it if you have difficult with British accent.

88
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining

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.

Also This was a wonderful show. Just when one felt that it was going nowher... Read more Read less

85
Entertaining

See it if you like fun dialog and interaction between characters. Kept my interest through out. Easy to watch.

Don't see it if don't like plays in English accent or plays about family interactions.

83
Sufficiently risible

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.

Also Theater's elderly audience is distracting, so obtaining a great seat i... Read more Read less

95
Funny, Absorbing, Delightful, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if you want to be thoroughly entertained by an outstanding, funny play.

Don't see it if if you have a hard time with the British accent.

Also I missed a lot of the funny lines because I couldn't understand the Br... Read more Read less

75
Funny, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Resonant

See it if You enjoy shows like "Good Neighbors," plus added drama. Well done,

Don't see it if You don't like war of the classes dramedy.

72
Ambitious, Cliched, Predictable

See it if you enjoy comedies of manners, i.e. city folk meet country folk. But story is predictable, which made it feel long..

Don't see it if Emily's Act 1 constant hysteria got on my nerves. It should be toned down a bit.

82
Funny, Intelligent, Touching

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.

Also The first act is funny as the upper crusty newcomers to a northern Bri... Read more Read less

80
Funny, Absorbing, Quirky, Cliched, Entertaining

See it if thoughtful comedies about relationships

Don't see it if British plays

74
Funny, Clever, Entertaining

See it if you are interested in plays about the difference between economic classes.

Don't see it if you find the unreconciled juxtaposition of farce in one act with serious business in the second to be too great a failing.

Also The issues around class differences—education, financial well-being, s... Read more Read less