Lally Katz has become quite the favourite with Australian theatre companies in recent years, and has attracted a strong following in Adelaide where several of her major works have played to great acclaim.
Add to that Miriam Margolyes in her first role as an Australian citizen, and you have a recipe for success.
Neighbourhood Watch is an impressively written piece, a kind of tragicomic memory play in which an aged Hungarian woman with a wretched early life, Anna (Margolyes), befriends an aspiring actress, Catherine (Eleanor Stankiewicz).
Margolyes is utterly irresistible. Her timing, her stares and glances, her inflection, and her superb delivery of Anna’s comically broken English completely carry the night, and are worth the price of a ticket alone.
Thank goodness for that, for Margolyes is, it must be said, up against some opposition. Stankiewicz’s performance is curiously stilted, almost wooden.
It’s a moot point whether the lack of chemistry between them is down to the actor, the writer, or Julian Meyrick’s direction, for when Catherine’s memories turn to her former lover (Nic English), the same distance is there.
Among minor roles, Carmel Johnson is excellent, and James Smith makes an impressive professional debut as Catherine’s flatmate, Ken.
The design team led by Louise McCarthy (with reliable locals Geoff Cobham for lights and Quentin Grant for music) is competent, without working up a sweat.
Posted : 7th May 2014