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“NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH”


It was good to see this play, as it was postponed from earlier in the year, and St Andrew’s did well to place their faith in Frances Hall, as she, her cast and crew delivered a slick, amusing and thought-provoking production.


Keith Turton did well to restrict the set design to something very simple, as there was quite a bit of cast movement, and this facilitated it well. Tim Garside gave us a fitting lighting plot, I particularly liked the effect of the fire, with sound from Allan Crosby that enhanced the play.  I liked the choice of music too.


I thought the opening monologue, although delivered well, was a little too long – I could feel attention wavering.


Tim Haydon created a super character as Martin Massie, the frustrated bachelor, who put all his energies into organising a neighbourhood watch, egged on by his sister and a neighbour, but then found the joys of a relationship with the lovely outgoing Amy.  I loved the nuances of his portrayal, and the tenderness but intensity of his first kiss with Amy.  A complex but true character.  The Churchillian speech was strong and effective, which gained spontaneous applause from the audience.


Jennifer McDonald played Martin’s manipulative sister Hilda – driven to make Martin take decisions because she’d always been the mother-figure.  I liked the gradual transformation too, as she suddenly found a good relationship with Magda.


Roy Hall created a good Rod, the retired security guard, who tried to guide the more timid Martin into decisions he might not have normally taken. It seemed that Rod’s enthusiasm for getting ‘heavies’ involved, and encouraging Martin and Hilda in their security decisions was well accomplished.


Sharon Robinson created a good Dorothy, the slightly timid but know-it-all snooper, who could offer gossip and opinions on most subjects.  Her rather softer character contrasted well with the other ladies.


It was lovely to see Liz Harvey back on stage – she has the knack of creating a wonderfully well-rounded character, her take on Amy was feisty and yet poignant somehow, although when you looked at her husband, you could see why she would perhaps seek diversions elsewhere.   The way she flirted with Martin and eventually won him over was very satisfying.


Graham Thomas played Gareth, Amy’s husband – a rather weak ineffectual man, who put great store in his engineering abilities, creating stocks for the miscreants to be locked into.  His meltdown in Act 2 was very well done – the best thing I have seen Graham do.


Jonathan Mills really came into his own as the brutal and bullying Luther, intimidating and abusing his wife Magda, and to all accounts enjoying the experience.  A very different part for Jonathan, which he did well.


I liked the cowering nature of Jessica Lacey’s portrayal of Magda, Luther’s abused wife, who really thought she deserved the abuse, because her father had treated her the same.  Her transformation into Hilda’s friend was good, swapping physical abuse for mental control!!  


Costumes needed a little more thought, particularly footwear, as certain characters wore unsuitable shoes, which affected the way their characters walked, and put them at odds with the way those people were perceived.


A very satisfying evening’s entertainment – I thought TADS theatre was a good venue for this play, and it was good to see two societies helping each other and between them giving us a play that was well-acted, believable and covered all the emotions.












St. Andrew’s Players

NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH

review date: 23rd Oct 2015 TADS Theatre

   Directed by: Frances Hall


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