Most of us watch Neighbours for a bit of escapism, so the recent dark turn of events on Ramsay Street hasn’t gone down all that well with everyone. But, while not that popular with all the fans, Sonya’s cancer diagnosis has shown that Neighbours is not just a bubblegum soap with silly comedy storylines (and I’m looking directly at you here, Christmas bauble haunted by the ghost of Jim Robinson).
As we’ve seen Sonya getting diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer, there have been some pretty incredible performances as Toadie, Sonya and the rest of their family have struggled to cope with the situation. The scriptwriters deserve a bit of a shout out as well, because I think the writing for this storyline has been pretty top notch.
I’ve been watching Neighbours for approximately 600 years, so it’s no surprise to me that Ryan Moloney and Eve Morey can act. They’ve had several serious and emotional storylines where both actors have been able to stretch their legs a bit, but I still sometimes forget quite how good they both are. Sonya’s diagnosis has reminded me with a bit of a jolt that there is way more to these two actors than comedy sub-plots involving getting sprung in The Waterhole with their kit off.
I found the scene where they returned home from the hospital after Sonya was diagnosed particularly poignant. Sonya said something along the lines of things being exactly the same but everything having completely changed, and it struck such a chord with me. That’s exactly what it feels like when you’re hit with the sledgehammer of a cancer diagnosis in the family, and she articulated it beautifully.
It’s hard to watch Ryan Moloney without crying along with him at the moment, because he’s showing Toadie’s utter despair and frustration so well that it’s actually pretty heartbreaking. When Toadie cries, we all cry.
Nicholas Coghlan and Sharon Johal have also been able to show what they’re capable of, as Shane and Dipi rally round to support Toadie and Sonya. Ramsay Street veteran Dr Karl is also getting a bit more to do than his usual comedy antics, and Alan Fletcher is another cast member who is rising to the challenge. There’s some serious talent in this show, and I think we’re going to get to see even more of it as this story progresses to its rather inevitable tragic ending.
I don’t want to end this on a sad note, so to lighten the mood I need to talk about Elly’s hen party, AKA the worst hen party of all time. The party started at the Brennan house, where they sexually harassed David for a bit and then got halfway through a really boring quiz about Elly before the unseen “party bus” (why not something more exciting and luxurious than a bus, since we didn’t see it?) arrived to take them to the only other place to go out aside from The Waterhole – that tiny, rubbish-looking bar in Melbourne they always end up at. I’ve been to Melbourne, and I could have sworn there was more than one bar there, but it was a long time ago...
In a radical departure from the things Elly wears to work, which have splits up to the thigh and bits cut out all over the place, she went to her hen party wearing a 10 tog sleeping bag, and Chloe decided to skin a few 1980s footstools and sew the hides together into a dress. Still, I can’t blame them for not getting too dolled up to stand in their own living room, then get on a bus. I haven’t been to many hen parties because the thought of them brings me out into a cold sweat, but they can’t be as rubbish as this in real life, surely?