Torben Betts enjoys making the audience squirm almost as much as the characters in his plays.
While his latest black comedy, Invincible, is enjoying a run at St Jame’s Theatre, his previous work, Muswell Hill, is set to open at the White Bear Theatre, in Kennington, London, next week.
Apparently inspired by true events Muswell Hill is set at a dinner party.
In January 2010 an earthquake in Haiti left 100,000 people dead and almost two million homeless.
But god forbid a disaster of that magnitude would spoil a night with friends.
In a leafy north London suburb, six individuals sit down to avocado and prawns – “so reassuringly 1970s” – followed by a monkfish stew.
They admire their host’s beautifully appointed kitchen, fret about their “ambitious” mortgages, make holiday plans, compare mobile phone tariffs, connect with Facebook friends, and worry that they might, after all, just be ordinary.
Will history remember any of them, and if so, what for?
A social event, in which much is said but little communicated, rapidly disintegrates as the wine flows and some hard truths are revealed.
Muswell Hill is a blackly funny, touching and ultimately devastating play, exploring the disintegration of a relationship in a world in which the fragile veneer of comfort and contentment
conceals realities too uncomfortable to face.
Torben Betts is an award-winning English writer for the stage and screen. His credits include A Listening Heaven, The Unconquered, The Company Man.
The cast of Muswell Hill are Annabel Bates, Jack Johns, Fiona Rodrigo, Alastair Natkiel, Nicole Abraham and Gregory Cox.
The director is Roger Mortimer-Smith and the designer is Nancy
Muswell Hill runs from August 12-31.