Neighbourhood Watch, written by Lally Katz, is a charming and funny play about an unlikely friendship between an aspiring young actress, Catherine, and her neighbour, an older widowed refugee from Hungary called Ana.
The tempo of the play is engaging, with people entering and exiting the stage in all directions. The play opens with Nancy the neighbour handing out a neighbourhood watch flyer to those living in her street. The script provides a wonderful platform for a versatile cast of seven to shine, and shine they do.
Ana (Gertraud Ingeborg) is a hoot. She delivers some of the best lines of the play. Residing across the road from her is Catherine (Anne Wilson) who is living a humdrum existence, hoping for an audition and not going out much, due to a lack of funds. Her flatmate is Ken (Skyler Ellis) who spends his days watching episodes of West Wing and playing video games, in between writing a film script. His is a solid performance.
When Ana and Catherine encounter one another on the street, over the rubbish bins, a relationship quickly builds. Over cups of tea, past revelations are exposed. Ana’s tales of her time in World War II and as a young woman in Hungary are cleverly narrated.
Ana’s candour provides Catherine with a reality check that leads her to face her own demons. It is through Ana, who is from another time and place, that universal truths are conveyed. Jovanka (Odile Le Clezio) gives a wonderful performance as the annoying, but always smiling acquaintance who is often snubbed by Ana.
The characters are believable and complex, the play is interjected with humour and light heartedness, whilst talk expands to issues of war, abortion, cancer, love and loss.
All of the actors, except Ana, double up to play other characters.
Steven Kreamer is memorable as the pharmacist/musician, as well as Katrina (Linden Wilkinson) as the neighbour and doctor.
Martin (Andrew Lindqvist) who plays Catherine’s ex-boyfriend enters the stage midway through and gives a lovely performance.
Susanna Dowling directs this entertaining play about ‘connection’ and being ‘neighbourly.’
Produced by Illuminate Educate.
Bondi Pavilion Theatre
28 May – 6 June, 2015