Theatre / “Oh, What a Lovely War”. Directed by Chris Baldock. At Theatre 3 until March 10. Reviewed by JOE WOODWARD
A VERITABLE who’s who of Canberra REP acting talent is lining up for the coming production of Lally Katz’s play “Neighbourhood Watch” by director Kate Blackhurst.
Liz de Totth, Alex McPherson, Craig Battams, Judi Crane, Damon Baudin, Nikki-Lyn Hunter, Peter Holland, Loren Davison and Tim Sekuless will be performing the parts – often acting out multiple roles.
Blackhurst believes she’s achieving something of a “perfect hat-trick” by staging a play that’s contemporary, Australian and by a female playwright, although she hastens to say that it isn’t just tokenism. Adding to the hat-trick, the much awarded Katz, although born in the US, was raised in Canberra before she went interstate for her drama studies. Since then she’s had plays performed by Sydney Theatre Company, Melbourne Theatre Company, Malthouse, La Boite and Belvoir, where “Neighbourhood Watch” premiered in 2011.
Katz’s play deals with the loneliness of suburbia and the way people overcome that problem through relationships. There is both poignancy and humour in encounters over bins, running errands to the chemist and the doctor, and trips to the supermarket and the cinema, all of which come to assume significant meaning.
Briefly, Ana, an 80-year old Hungarian/Australian woman with stories to tell of imprisonment and abuse during WWII. Catherine is an aspiring actress with an eating disorder and a complicated sense of self-worth— somehow they form a friendship.
And that’s where suburbia pays off.
“Neighbourhood Watch”, at Theatre 3, Acton, begins August 3. Bookings to canberrarep.org.au 6257 1950.