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Neighbourhood Watch - State Theatre Company of SA

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by Sarah Gates (subscribe)
I am a writer, editor and theatre enthusiast living in Adelaide. You can follow my on Twitter, @SarahGatesWrite
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BAFTA award winning actress in Adelaide production

After an extended season featuring the highly acclaimed, and newly Australian, actress Miriam Margolyes, it is no surprise that the State Theatre of South Australia's Neighbourhood Watch was a sold out success. It was a shock, however, to discover that the production wasn't actually enjoyable or meaningful to its audiences. From the creative mind of Lally Katz comes a play that fails to draw out the dramatic potential of its plot. With three cancers, a suicide, a mass murderer, mental illness, two marriages and two young loves, Neighbourhood Watch should've been bursting at the seams with interesting storylines and themes. With stilted dialogue, a mishmash of fragment scenes, and inconsistent thematic features, many audience members walked away saying, 'Well, Miriam Margolyes was fantastic. But what a shame...'

Why the State Theatre Company of SA would choose that play, we may never know. The set was stunning. As were the lighting and costumes. The acting was all-round impressive, with perhaps the exception of main character, Catherine (Megan Holloway); the 20-something young girl to whom Ana, Miriam 80 year old Hungarian-Australian widow, reaches out. Perhaps Holloway can be excused for an experience gap between herself, a recent NIDA graduate, and the BAFTA award winning actress. But it does little to sate an audience who, expecting a first class performance, actually encountered a disappointing taste of what the company could have produced.
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When: 2 - 24 May 2014
Where: Dunstan Playhouse - Adelaide Festival Centre
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