Rotorua Weekender - 2021-10-15


Neighbourhood antics in the limelight


Shauni James

There’s nothing quite like settling into a chair and enjoying live, local theatre, and an upcoming show is bound to have relatable moments among antics. Rotorua Little Theatre will be presenting their production of Neighbourhood Watch from October 20 to 30. Neighbourhood Watch is a Alan Ayckbourn production, which he wrote in 2011 and was his 75th play. When unassuming Martin and his older sister Hilda move to Bluebell Hill Development, they are looking forward to making new friends in the community and leading a peaceful, Christian life. As they are preparing to welcome their neighbours to a house warming, Martin is incensed when he notices a young intruder in their garden. He gathers the neighbours together to form a neighbourhood watch group that swiftly escalates into a semi-military organisation. The audience will be amused by the antics of this ill-assorted band of vigilantes. Director Remo Malcolm says, “It’s looking at society and how good people can do bad things, often with the best of motives. Alan is cleverly warning us about the dangers of wellmeaning volunteers going well beyond and creating chaos.” She says there are eight in the cast and they have been rehearsing for about eight weeks, though Covid and restrictions caused a hiccup in the middle of rehearsals. Remo says it is a brilliant piece of theatre by British playwright Ayckbourn, and that she first saw this play in Tauranga, then decided she wanted to bring it to the stage here too. The cast have been doing very well throughout rehearsals and she thinks it will be a relatable show for the audience. “I’m very pleased with the show. People will enjoy it because it’s about life and things all of us know about.” She encourages people to come along, enjoy the show and support local theatre. Remo says being director is an interesting and enjoyable role to take on. “I was an actor for many years, and I thought I would put what I learnt into practice with directing. “It’s enjoyable to see people who have not done much acting start getting better and better.” There will be limited seating to allow for bubbles.


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