THE AUDIENCE at Beacon Church Centre was transported to traditionally English middle class suburbia with Rubery Drama Group’s latest offering – Alan Ayckbourn’s Neighbourhood Watch.
This show had the crowd laughing out loud throughout and in hysterics on many occasions.
The production centres on Martin Massie who, after his treasured childhood garden gnome Montmorency is brutally smashed at his and his sister’s new home in Bluebell Hill, he starts a neighbourhood watch group.
The play, reminiscent of some of those much-loved 1970s suburban sitcoms, has a wonderful array of colourful characters who all remind you of different people you know.
Humorous situations follow as the watch group moves from curtain-twitching and gossip to a borderline vigilante police state, complete with its own self-enclosed wall and one-way-in and one-way-out main gate and mooted prohibition.
Everyone performed well on the night including Jayne Worth as neighbourhood gossip Dorothy Doggett, Julie Edwards as Martin’s supportive sister Hilda, Roy Watton as aggressive ‘out for what he can get’ neighbour Luther Bradley and Robert Sawyer as eccentric vigilante-sympathiser Rod Trusser.
Ian Kimberley-Ryan was sound as self-defeatest cheated on husband Gareth Janner while Paula Hogarth was equally good as his promiscuous wife Amy.
You could hear a pin drop during Julie Brotherhood’s brilliant emotive monologue in the second half which revealed her character Magda’s lifelong struggles.
But Paul Harris as Martin, the idealist who acquires an alternative agenda later on, was the best performer on the night.
And with the complaints about police cuts and news reports about forces not investigating crime over the past few weeks, Rubery Drama Group could not have timed this production more perfectly.
There was also a great front-of-house feature as well with a Rubery Neighbourhood Watch stall in the foyer where people could find out about the real-life version.
Forget peering through your own curtains for a day or two and take a look at what is on offer through this drama group’s stage curtains – this neighbourhood is well worth a watch.
The final performances are at 7.30pm tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday, OCtober 27.
Tickets are £7 (£6 concessions) on the door or by calling 0121 453 8733.