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Muswelll Hill - White Bear Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

TwoSheds Theatre is presenting Torben Betts’ Muswell Hill at the White Bear Theatre – from August 14 (previews from August 12) to August 31, 2014.

In January 2010, an earthquake in Haiti leaves a hundred thousand people dead and almost two million homeless. Meanwhile 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 told.

Muswell Hill is described as 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.

Muswell Hill is directed by Roger Mortimer-Smith, designed by Nancy Surman and performed by Annabel Bates, Jack Johns, Fiona Rodrigo, Alastair Natkiel, Nicole Abraham and Gregory Cox.

An award-winning English writer for the stage and screen, Torben Betts’ credits include A Listening Heaven (Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough and Edinburgh Royal Lyceum, nominated as TMA Best New Play); The Unconquered (Traverse/Tron/Arcola/Brits-off-Broadway/UK tour, winner of Best New Play at the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland, 2007) and Muswell Hill and The Company Man (both Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, both nominated as Best New Play at the Off West End Theatre Awards, 2010 and 2012).

Betts’ most recent play, Invincible, will transfer to the St James’s Theatre in July 2014, following a highly successful debut at the Orange Tree. He also wrote the screenplay for the British independent feature film Downhill, which was released in May 2014.

Roger Mortimer-Smith studied theatre with Marina Carr and Tim Crouch at the Lir Academy, part of Trinity College Dublin, and elsewhere with Simon Stephens and David Eldridge. He has written several plays, which have won several competitions and been performed as far afield as Pittsburgh and Poland. He also studied directing with Anthony Clark at East 15, and directed his own first play, Why Don’t You Just Sing Jazz?, on the last night of the Grimeborn Festival of Alternative Opera at the Arcola Theatre in 2009 to great acclaim.

He is the founder of TwoSheds Theatre Company, for which he also produces, and co-founder of opera company Opera in Colour.

Tickets: £14, £10 concessions – available from the box office on 020 7793 9193 or online at www.whitebeartheatre.co.uk/.

Times: Tuesday to Saturday 7.30pm, Sunday matinees at 6pm.