Ayckbourn: May the dark farce be with you

Matthew Cottle and Frances Grey star in Ayckbourn’s Neighbourhood Watch

Matthew Cottle and Frances Grey star in Ayckbourn’s Neighbourhood Watch

First published in Theatre Borehamwood Times: Photograph of the Author by

Direct from its New York run, Alan Ayckbourn’s new play, Neighbourhood Watch, is calling in at Watford Palace Theatre this month as part of its national tour. The play is the popular playwright’s 75th production.

A national treasure, Alan was appointed a CBE in 1987 and was knighted in 1997 for his services to the theatre. In 2009 he was awarded The Laurence Olivier Awards Special Award and in 2010, he received a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theatre.

As ever Neighbourhood Watch serves up his trademark humour in a thought-provoking way.

“It’s a cautionary play,“ Alan admits. “It addresses modern hang-ups such as law and order, health and safety. It’s in my dark farce mode.“

The des-res Bluebell Hill Development is experiencing something of a crime wave. Theft, petty crime, vandalism, all the ills of modern suburban existence are on the increase. Curtains are twitching and the residents come together to protect their collective hearths and homes.

“I’ve always been interested in how, out of tiny things, wars are often fought,“ adds Alan. “Whenever history is examined, you always say: is that really what started it? Helen of Troy was responsible for an awful lot!“

The show is written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn and stars Eileen Battye, Terence Booth, Phil Cheadle, Matthew Cottle, Richard Derrington, Frances Grey, Amy Loughton and Alexandra Mathie.

The show comes to Watford Palace Theatre, Clarendon Road, Watford from March 6-10. Details: 01923 225671, www.watfordpalacetheatre.co.uk

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