Lie of the Land

This article is from 2008.

Lie of the Land

Torben Betts’ fierce poetry finds its natural home on the Fringe

Many of us dream of a simpler existence in the countryside, but the sudden lack of people can be a shock to the system. Inspired by the personal nightmare that followed his own relocation from London, Torben Betts’ new play explores that sense of loneliness. ‘I was living in the middle of a field, basically, with my wife and children. That was the inspiration: two people cast out of a city, to the ends of the earth. It’s become a kind of Adam and Eve play: they are at the end of the world, as opposed to the start. It becomes an apocalyptic vision of the world.’

While Betts won a CATS award for The Unconquered, his fierce, heightened poetic style, which also permeates Lie of the Land, may sit more easily in the experimental climate of the Fringe, compared to the stubbornly naturalistic realm of the larger theatres. ‘In most professions getting an award would help you, but the theatre establishment either doesn’t like me or doesn’t approve, I’m much more likely to get commissions if I’m writing naturalistic work.’ Betts’ shocking and challenging poetry will always have a home at the Fringe.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, 3–24 Aug (not 11), 12.30pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7–£8). Previews until 2 Aug, £5.

The Lie of the Land

  • 3 stars

Sharp little two-hander about a yuppie couple trying to relocate to the countryside. There's a lot of beautiful writing here, but the characters are played so blatantly for laughs that it's difficult to take their neuroses seriously, and the whole thing never looks much beyond its own Londony navel. 'Part of the Edinburgh…

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