Edinburgh Fringe 2018
‘My neighbours leave their flat one morning but don’t return. Al and Evie, married 40 years, no kids. I have their spare keys. I cannot resist.’ Award-winning writer/performer Molly Taylor pieces together the story of two lives intertwined
In this show Molly Taylor performs a one-hour monologue about neighbours. Her character has grown up, left home for a while and then returned home to stay with her parents. Evie and Alton live nearby and had always asked Molly’s character to take care of their home, when they were away. Molly mum had taken on this favour for the neighbours but now Molly was back she becomes curious about the home, especially when she discovers Alton and Evie have not returned, so she picks up the keys and goes over to their home.
It’s a fascinating premise and offers a lot of possibilities story-wise. Taylor is a personable actor, sincere and having to look up at the audience in the very compact but atmospheric venue. The set fits well in the stage space, a beige carpeted room with long white gauze curtains, two lamps, a box of records on the floor and a table with a kettle and other objects.
Taylor describes the sunny street and her many conversations with these neighbours, when she was young. She shares childhood memories and the niceties of small talk, with humour. Taylor’s delivery is in the first person, directly to the audience with good comic timing.
Wandering around the room she recalls the many times she visited Evie and Alton. She also comments on their furniture! She is at home here but this time with leeway to look at their things in a different way. What will happen to their possessions? Who owns their belongings? These are relatable questions for everyone to ask and ponder.
Telling many anecdotes about Evie and Alton, Taylor’s descriptions are detailed and real. Tender memories of the couple are shared with context from different conflicts that arose in the past. In fact, we learn about other characters, which enter and exit the lives of Taylor and these neighbors, which might benefit from streamlining.
Sound effects and music of the time play in several parts of the show, adding to the atmosphere and lives of Evie and Alton. The theme that envelops the core of this play is moving and worth thinking about – what happens to other people’s lives when they are gone.