Strong modern comedy in theatre is at a premium. Ayckbourn and Benfield penned productions still endure, albeit to an ageing audience , drawn on themes which are forty to fifty years old, and feel it. Even the odd Brian Rix farce still surfaces from time to time.
In 1999, Torben Betts’s was invited to be resident dramatist at Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre by Alan Ayckbourn. Ayckbourn in turn had worked as an actor under Brian Rix’s direction. Betts’ dramatic lineage is impressive. He studied in Liverpool, home of the best social dramatist of the eighties, Alan Bleasdale. Betts’ writing combines those former influences in comic farce, with the latter’s dark social satire.
Almost exactly two years ago Betts and Original Theatre brought “Invincible” to Derby Theatre. It was a fabulous production that played to deservedly enthusiastic audiences and reviews. From that cast, Elizabeth Boag, who played sassy dental receptionist Dawn , returns as does Alistair Whatley to Direct.
The remainder of the cast comprises:
CAROLINE LANGRISHE (Lovejoy, Judge John Deed), ADEN GILLETT (The House of Eliott), JASMYN BANKS (EastEnders), TOM ENGLAND (Death Trap) and JAMES SUTTON (Emmerdale, Hollyoaks).
Caroline Mortimer is the Caroline of her eponymous kitchen, a kitchen to die for, or die in, during this contemporary piece which starts off as comedy before descending into tragedy.
You can be assured of razor sharp writing, great acting and a sense that this is happening now. Traditional enough in format to satisfy the established comedy audience, sharp enough to establish a new one. Do make sure that you catch this on its UK tour prior to its New York transfer.