Theatre review: Neighbourhood Watch at the Tricycle Theatre

14:55 15 April 2012

Matthew Cottle and Frances Grey in Neighbourhood Watch. Photo by Karl Andre Photography

Matthew Cottle and Frances Grey in Neighbourhood Watch. Photo by Karl Andre Photography

Archant

Alan Aykbourn’s 75th play Neighbourhood Watch is not to be missed, writes Jill Truman

»For a good night out, it is hard to beat a play by Alan Aykbourn. Superb craftsmanship, combined with dialogue that wittily reflects the foibles of middle England, keeps the audience laughing – perhaps unaware that they are also laughing at themselves.

His 75th play, written at 72, is no exception. Although, because even a brilliantly accurate representation of, for instance, a boring meeting must, inevitably, become boring, the director (Aykbourn himself) could have made some cuts to Act One.

The actors keep the laughter on the boil while managing to reveal the hatred, cruelty, frustration and suffering, that lurks beneath respectability in leafy suburbs. Before our eyes, well-intentioned middle class residents turn into ruthless fascists.

Who, then, are the real villains – these people or the youths from the neighbouring council estate?

Matthew Cottle and Alexandra Mathie as Martin and Hilda, the brother and sister at the centre of the action, give convincing and sometimes moving performances, as does Richard Dennington, the vengeful Gareth. Other characters, however, although consistently amusing, are too cartoon-like to be human.

Neighbourhood Watch is at once an entertaining and frightening warning of the direction in which modern life in the UK may be heading – and not to be missed!

* Neighbourhood Watch is at the Tricycle Theatre until May. Tickets from £14, call 020 7328 1000.

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

Press Association figures reveal the extensive use of new domestic violence laws.

Read more

And if we don’t do something to help them, you might not ever.

Read more

Jessica Chastain believes it is harder for women to be cast in movies as they get older.

Read more

Promoted content

Established in 1987, Tucci is one of the North's premier stores for branded clothing, footwear and accessories.

Save up to 70% on designer brands for Men and Women, including G-Star, Diesel, French Connection, Firetrap and many more….our sale is now on.

[Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images]

It’s the new year and you’re looking forward to booking your summer holidays - but how do sunny getaways change when you’ve got children?

Top Stories

Quizzes

Adrian Chiles is no longer ITV's main man... so why not test your knowledge of some of his (and others') greatest gaffes? (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

With news of presenter Adrian Chiles’ sacking by ITV, it’s a good time to remember some of the most memorable punditry blunders.

Read more
[Image by Gary Tallowin]

In which we remember the stations that have gone before...

Read more
£50million Fernando Torres and former Fulham striker Kostas Mitroglous are two of the biggest transfer flops in recent Premier League history

The transfer window is a time for optimisim, but it doesn’t always work out for the best...

Read more