Stars explained: * A production of no real merit with failings in all areas. ** A production showing evidence of not enough time or effort, or even talent, and which never breathes any real life into the piece – or a show lumbered with a terrible script. *** A good enjoyable show which might have some small flaws but has largely achieved what it set out to do.**** An excellent show which shows a great deal of work and stage craft with no noticeable or major flaws.***** A four star show which has found that extra bit of magic which lifts theatre to another plane.
Half stars fall between the ratings


Neighbourhood watchers: Andy Bingham (left), Tony Newbold, Stanley Barten, Pam Meredith

Neighbourhood Watch

The Nonentities

The Rose Theatre, Kidderminster


The Nonentities return to solid, familiar ground with an Alan Ayckbourn play Neighbourhood Watch.

Like so many of his works the stage becomes a glass case into which he drops a variety of human specimens, to which is added a social occasion or some event and then he leaves the combination of personalities to fuse and react to each other while we all watch.

Neighbourhood Watch is typical of this highly successful formula. Here we have Christian God-fearing singles Martin and Hilda who are brother and sister and both living together

They move into a new house, located in a good area, but one that has the view and proximity of a rundown housing estate. The locals seem to fear the inhabitants there and the possibility of them invading their middle-class idyll.

So, after Martin apprehends what he believes to be an intruder, he sets about forming a Neighbourhood Watch committee. This then is the cauldron and melting pot for the antics of an assortment of local do gooders.

There’s the ex-military type ready to lob a grenade at any passer-by who steps on the grass. A shapely female temptress and her much maligned husband and the local busy body snooper who sees and knows everyone’s business.

The success of the watch eventually leads Martin to national fame but the plaudits are set against a background of illicit sexual exploits, jealousy and domestic violence.

The siblings, played by Katy Ball and Tony Newbould, were both excellent in their dry stiff collar approach to these clean cut Christians types and form a good anchor for the ensuing events.


Still watching: Faye Bingham (left), Katy Ball, Laurie Pollitt, Alex Thompson 

Stanley Barten managed to generate the most laughs as Rod Trusser the extreme thinking security man who believes everyone is armed these days and the use of baseball bats are the best criminal deterrent.

Female guile comes in the form of Laurie Pollitt as Amy Janner working her way through the bedrooms of the street whilst her husband Gareth, played by Alex Thompson, is seeming hopeless to do anything about it.

The snooper Dorothy Doggett was played by Pamela Meredith and although at times hard to hear was very natural in her gossiping ways.

The dark shadows cast across the humour are the neighbours Magda and Luther Bradley played by Faye and Andy Bingham. Music teacher Magda is suffering badly at the hands of her malicious husband but is rescued by the heroic Martin.

Neighbour Hood watch is a very dry humorous look at suburban life and at times the threads of the story sometimes don’t feel they hang together all that well. The outcome may seem far-fetched but the character observations are spot on in this production .Stephen Downing’s clean direction and the solid performances makes it worth watching in full open view, rather than from behind the crack of closed curtains. To 19-05-18

Jeff Grant


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