Neighbours in good-natured
comic dispute in St Ives
Edge Theatre, Newtown until September 14
Review by Peter Morrison
The Newtown Theatre audience laughed long and hard at this Aussie sitcom in the little upstairs Edge Theatre - one of three stage venues surviving the years on King Street.

The others are the New Theatre and the Newtown Theatre.

At the Edge you will hopefully be amused by a young Greek couple in heated dispute with their next-door neighbours - a bulbous, ponderous, insensitive WASP and his liquor-swilling, jagged but once attractive wife, who is ready to quit the marital nest.

Like the Jewish author of the piece, Tony Laumberg, the WASP is a busy and successful lawyer.

Otherwise they are diametrically different, significantly in that Lamberg is an eastern suburbs resident - which makes you wonder what his perception of life among the St Ives gum trees is really like.

As a resident, this reviewer thinks the new neighbours should have been South African or Oriental, rather than Greek.
But let that pass. Versimilitude in situation comedy, verging on farce, doesn't matter.
Laumberg's title The Great Divide has a double meaning. The divisions are in attitudes, personalities and backgrounds; and the paling fence separating the two homes.

The Greek wants to replace it with a brick wall, which the lawyer bitterly and irrationally opposes, just as he opposes the parking of the Greek's Magna (hardly prestigious!) outside his property.

The acting, from Mark McCann, Tricia Youlden, Many Katts, Tula Tzoras and (in the lesser role of a magistrate) Peter Demlakian, is up to the task set by Laumberg and director Richard Cotter. They get plenty of laughs, although the performances and staging (with a very minimalist set) are not exactly Sydney Theatre Company standard.

The Great Divide
is pretty basic comedy, not to be taken or assessed too seriously.
Go for the fun, and take plenty of tolerance with you.

The Australian Jewish News
Friday 4 September 2003