Comedy review: Annoying the Neighbours
Edinburgh Fringe Scotsman review: Annoying the Neighbours at Hill Street Theatre (venue 41), reviewed by Matt Trueman
Everybody needs good neighbours, but not everyone gets them. Even neighbourhood housing officers – the people employed to enforce social etiquette – have their problems, as Louise Wallinger’s petite verbatim piece proves.
Wallinger uses the recorded delivery method whereby an actor repeats the interviewee’s every um and er. So we hear from noise nuisance officer and planning permission officers about various antisocial allsorts: the homeowner who taped 36 alarm clocks to the ceiling; the woman who regards next door’s garden as lebensraum; the snoopers who use their spare keys unsparingly. Ideally, there’d be a bit more argumentative progression, but as individual vox pops, the interviews are characterful and crisp.
It’s a smart subject-choice that allows Wallinger to talk about tolerance and the erosion of etiquette in a society of rampant individualism. Yes, the whole thing is steeped in nostalgia for that golden age when – ooh, when you could leave your front door unlocked and let your kids play in the streets and lalala… but it makes its point quietly and humorously.
MORE INFO: Annoying the Neighbours at Hill Street Theatre (venue 41), until 25 August
Originally published in The Scotsman