Couples with differences as wide as Watford Gap
A comedy about what happens when two couples from the north-south divide meet is in Doncaster this week.
It’s a really brilliant play about a clash of cultures
Invincible has been written by Torben Betts, who wrote the adaptation of Get Carter that came to the same theatre last year.
Yorkshire-born actress Elizabeth Boag plays the role of Dawn, who moves up north with husband Oliver as the recession bites hard on the couple.
Over the course of a disastrous evening of olives, anchovies, Karl Marx and abstract art, class and culture collide, resulting in consequences that are both tragic and hilarious.
Elizabeth joined the original cast of Alastair Whatley, Emily Bowker and Graham Brookes on the second production of the play, which was first seen in two theatres in London last year before it went on tour round the country.
She said: “It’s fantastic, a really brilliant play about a clash of cultures.
“There are two couples, one who are middle-class southern liberals who move up north when the husband gets made redundant.
“They arrive in this town a bit like Doncaster and invite the locals round for drinks to get to know them.
“The first act is all about this meeting of these two couples who would actually get on in different circumstances.
“Their political views don’t necessarily match and their lifestyles are quite different.
“There are misunderstandings between the two couples and differences they’re getting used to.
“As the play goes on, lots of things happen that make it much more dramatic and dark at times. It’s really very moving by the end.”
Elizabeth, who spent several years working with the playwright Alan Ayckbourn, is a fan of writer Torben as well.
She said: “I love the play. When I first read it, I thought it was very funny and it felt very familiar.
“I’m from North Yorkshire originally.”
Elizabeth has moved down to London for work but has family members who have lived in Yorkshire for generations, like her character, Dawn, who was born on the street she still lives in.
She said: “My boyfriend’s from Penistone. He’s seen it and he helped me learn the lines.
“We were both chuckling at things we recognise. It’s going to be very interesting to see how different audiences in different places respond to it and which characters they identify with.”
Elizabeth added: “When you move somewhere, there are so many things that don’t make sense to people who are not from that place.”
She believes that the play will appeal to everyone, though.
“Both of the women have issues with their children. It’s something that anyone with a child or with parents can relate to.”
Artistic director of The Original Theatre Company, Alastair Whatley, feels the play has political overtones as well.
He said: “Torben’s state of the nation comedy reached out to audiences across the UK in 2016 with his vision of a nation divided, cleft in two down the Watford Gap.
“We look forward to navigating the play through post-Brexit Britain in 2017.”