They have a picture, a picture that could spell the destruction of civilised society, a plan so devastating it would change the World as we know it.

They must put a stop to it.

They have a suspect, tied to a chair, a hood covering his face.

The only problem is the suspect claims the picture was drawn by his four year old son.

They have the suspect’s wife, but she claims her son couldn’t have made the picture.

Who’s telling the truth?

What is the truth?

And does the truth really matter any more?

Show Reviews >


Critics Choice A play that echoes the absurd situations of Dario Fo while adding in a contemporary comic feel. It’s a beautifully twisted and writhingly clever play, keeping the audience rapt with curiosity and on the edge of their seats throughout… The Infant is a savage satire on the paranoia engendered by the war on terror… It is very funny but also frightening.

The Infant is a highly assured, well performed absurdist piece with many resonances for today’s climate of fear, suspicion and arbitrary justice. Lansley shows himself a gifted playwright with this work and the production serves the piece well.

There are echoes of Beckett and Pinter here. I was reminded of Ben and Gus from The Dumb Waiter. This is a production that clearly sets out to unnerve and challenge the audience. I felt disorientated and confused and I think that was the point. The play makes you question your own assumptions. This is a beautifully structured piece of work and extremely well acted.

METRO ★★★★
Shades of Beckett and Dario Fo pervade this taut, inky-black comedy, by London’s Les Enfants Terribles company, whose themes of conspiracy theories and self-fulfilling paranoia assume considerable extra bite amidst current news headlines… The calibre of both writing and performances make this much more than the sum of its parts, author/producer Oliver Lansley’s semi-surreal parody of the methods and language deployed in defence of the realm is as elegant as it’s subversive.

Dark, macabre and thrilling, ‘Les Infants Terribles’ know how to put on a show. The stagecraft of this play puts it a cut above average… Witty and aesthetically excellent, Oliver Langley’s play draws your attention to the excesses of society; good theatre is not one of them, so buy a ticket… Bitingly funny and deeply insightful (it) ruthlessly scrutinises the consequences of a “smoke em out” mode of thought and poignantly shows what fear makes of people in times when everybody is potentially guilty. Political without being PC, absurdly comical and brilliantly acted.

Darkly satirical and intensely absorbing, The Infant is an excellent piece of theatre from the critically acclaimed Les Enfants Terribles theatre company that challenges perceptions of truth, suspicion and accusation and interrogation… The plot reeks with satirical wit, with its terrorist plot implications and subtle critique of interrogation providing an intriguing backbone to an absorbing hour and a half of theatre.

Two of my favourite things are Les Enfants Terribles and Theatre of the Absurd… Working on the well-worn framework established by Beckett, Stoppard, Pinter and Havel, The Infant follows the story of the two interrogators… The show is built upon a very strong script, with Writer Oliver Lansley drawing on quickfire dialogue and callback humour characteristic of early Stoppard to create a fast-moving and thoroughly enjoyable hour. Some clever staging helps convey the professionalism of a highly intelligent company further… Highly recommended.

Another imaginative and delightfully dark piece, this time decidedly not for younger audiences… As always, Les Enfants make imaginative use of mobile, sparse set design to illustrate changes in location, time, and mood… Les Enfants brings what they have always brought to the Fringe: a charmingly twisted, crisply directed, unique piece of theatre all their own.

Lansley’s blackly comic and clever thriller takes your nerves and emotions hostage and doesn’t release them until the final twist… a tight and gripping hour of expertly-paced comic theatre. Lansley’s script is smart and punchy, with a fast-paced interplay between the captors and captives, where charming offers of cups of tea can feel like the most terrible and loaded threats imaginable. The Infant takes you on a satisfyingly terrifying journey through dark and comic territory, which – like the unseen drawing at its centre – leaves enough blanks for you to draw your own conclusions as to what really happened.

Taking to extremes the current climate of fear (Exhibit B is a toy gun), paranoia seeps into every corner of Les Enfants Terribles production. It’s absurd and funny but at the same time unsettling insightful.

The Infant is a black comedy of darkest hue… As the final off-stage words are spoken, we are reminded that paranoia is sometimes, just maybe, the result of some people, even the most unlikely, actually being out to get you after all.

Hairline Highlight Winner The Infant makes the audience think. And that can never be a bad thing. With a simple but effective stage design and some clever use of lighting, Les Enfants Terribles Theatre Company have brought to the Fringe festival an amazing play that verses around the ideas of terrorism, paranoia and war. They have created a perfect balance between horror and dark comedy which very few shows achieve, and are never judgemental about their subject matter, leaving the public to choose their side. The Infant is excellent in every level, and there are not enough words to praise all of its qualities.

Oliver Lansley’s play on the unlimited supply of fear and betrayal that a paranoid society can mass produce is as chilling as it is bleakly comical. Lansley’s two agents are a classic Pinter double act; a pair of menacing spivs who suddenly find themselves in secret service positions. Great claustrophobic tension has been created by the director something that is vital to sustain the piece and the fine sound design was by Ex Animo Productions, while Signe Beckman created the excellent set.

Oliver Lansley’s absurdist black comedy The Infant is, in the end, neither absurd nor comic, as its subject matter is more frightening than comic and more real than absurd. It is a testament to Lansley’s writing, James Seager’s confident direction and solid performances from all that this intelligent short play can be played with such delightfully wicked humour whilst seriously examining the current climate of fear and politics of paranoia. Ultimately, The Infant’s seriousness could be felt with force underneath the parody and satire.



Anthony Spargo
James Seager
Faye Billing
Martyn Dempsey

Director: Oliver Lansley
Designer: Zoe Squire
Lighting Designer: Paul Green


Oliver Lansley
Tim Brown
Sarah Kirkland
Adrian Der Gregorian

Director: James Seager
Designer: Signe Beckman


Alexander Gilmore
Simon Lee Philips
Pippa Duffy
Graeme Brooks

Director: Jamie Harper


The Infant premiered in Edinburgh 2006 before transferring to Poland and the Prague Festival in 2007. In 2011 it toured the UK and returned to Edinburgh with Josh Pharo as the re-lighter and Penny Salway as Production Manager.