Neighbourhood Watch: Frequently Asked Questions

Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist Simon Murgatroyd's answers some of the most frequently asked questions about Alan Ayckbourn's Neighbourhood Watch. If you have a question about this or any other of Alan Ayckbourn's plays, you can contact the website via the Contact Us page.

In Act II Scene i, Hilda says 'Prowling, like the troops of Midian' what does this refer to?
This is a quote from an English church hymn (number 72 in the English Hymnal by J.M. Neale; number 65 in the New English Hymnal) which includes the verse: 'Christian, does thou see them - On the holy ground - How the troops of Midian - Prowl and prowl around?' It's a deliberately obscure quote that Hilda would certainly know, but would be recognised by very few other people.

Hilda mentions that she prefers to Percy Grainger to Mozart, who is Percy Grainger?
Percy Grainger was an Australian-born composer who played a prominent role in the revival of English folk music during the early 20th century. He is probably most famous for his arrangement of the folk tune 'Country Gardens'.

Did Hilda actually plan for Martin to be killed as a result of his affair with Amy?
No, Hilda may not be happy with Martin - and even less happy with Amy - about their relationship, but it doesn't drive her to murder. Whilst it could be argued there is a case for this - with a bit of a stretch and some leaps of logic - it doesn't actually make much sense within the actual play narrative. Martin's death is a combination of the complete ineptitude of the Wrigley brothers, who are probably even more stupid than they appear to be, and Martin not wishing to damage his and Hilda's Jesus figure whilst underestimating the seriousness of the situation he faces. Whilst, arguably, his death benefits Hilda and her ambitions, it would be hard to argue she actually wanted her brother to die - although she is more than willing to take full advantage of it!

All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd.