NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH by Lally Katz takes place in the year between Kevin Rudd’s election as Australian Prime Minister and Barack Obama’s as US President. It is based around the development of an unlikely friendship between Ana, a battle hardened Hungarian immigrant, and Catherine, an out of work actor waiting for a better world.
Ana, played with great energy and enthusiasm by Margaret Olive, is a scratchy old woman stuck in her past, bitter about her experiences and often refusing to see the good in people. She meets her neighbour Catherine, played elegantly and with feeling by Jacqui Wilson, who is also stuck in her past as she cannot let go of her ex-boyfriend. Continue reading NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: STORY OF AUSTRALIAN SUBURBIA TOUCHES→
Katie Elle Reeve’s alter ego bustles in late for NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH, her show at The Newsagency. Having arrived hot and flustered and out of breath, there’s only one option… do what she does best. Sing! Brilliantly! Here begins a really great set from a singer/ songwriter who has created an oversharing, let it all hang out character who dances like an aerobics queen yet can break your heart with a ballad. Continue reading NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: KATIE ELLE REEVE→
“It is in everyone’s nature to try and protect yourself and the people you love, but I think taken to the absolute extreme, that can be quite isolating, counterproductive and even dangerous. Ayckbourn has done a brilliant job in exploring that theme in a hilarious play. It is so funny and so dry and I think it’s one of his best works.” Anna Crawford, Director, NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH
A well crafted cautionary tale which catches audiences ‘on the hop’, often not knowing whether to laugh or to cry, awaits theatre patrons who make their way across you to Kirribilli’s waterfront Ensemble Theatre.
It is one thing for brother and sister pair Martin and Hilda to start up a Neighbourhood Watch group after an unpleasant incident takes place shortly after they move in to the plush new Bluebell Hill housing estate which is unfortunately situated close to a Council estate, populated by some less than charming individuals.
It is something altogether more bizarre, after tensions escalate between the group and riff raff from the council estate, that a mere fortnight after the Neighbourhood Watch group’s first meeting, Bluebill Hill has become a full-on gated community with security fences and armed patrols. The committee members, no longer believing in the ability of the police to enforce security, have taken the matter into their own hands and become their own erstwhile vigilante group.
It is a dark world that Ayckbourn shows us, where people’s small mindedness and pettiness dominate. Anna Crawford’s production, (the play had its world premiere in Scarborough in the UK in September, 2011),serves this incisive play well. Designer Amanda McNamara and lighting man Peter Neufeld set up the play’s world well, and Crawford wins strong performances from a good cast.
Brian Meegan and Fiona Press play the leads, Martin and Hilda, a rather precious, conservative pairing who get rattled far too easily.
Bill Young and Jamie Oxenbould have the most colourful roles ,playing ‘headcases’ former security guard Ron and unemployed engineer Gareth who almost take a para-military approach to the escalating conflict.
Douglas Hansell plays the menacing, volcanic Luther. Lizzie Mitchell gives a touching performance as Luther’s mistreated, fragile wife, Magda.
Olivia Pigeot performs the role of the promiscuous, sharp witted Amy- unfaithful wife to Gareth- with verve, as does veteran performer Gillian Axtell who plays Bluebell Hill gossip queen, Dorothy.
Recommended, the Australian premiere production of NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH opened at the Ensemble Theatre, 78 McDougall Street, Kirribilli, on Wednesday 18th December and runs until Saturday 24th January, 2014.
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