When the Rain stops Falling is playing at the New Theatre until 18 April.
You might think by the title that it is about drought but you would be wrong. It is a story of the past, present and future. There are seven characters and they are all connected in one way or another. What makes this play unusual is that actors play older or younger version of the same character. This is a multi-layered play spanning several decades (1959 - 2039) and two countries; Australia and England. At the start of the play you will be confused but stick with it as the story unfolds and pieces fall into place.
The play opens with all the characters on stage in the rain when a fish falls from the sky. It is 2039 and fish are very rare. Gabriel York played by David Woodland picks it up and decides to cook it for his long lost son Andrew Price, played by Tom Conroy. Gabriel has some regrets about his life and dysfunctional family, it is similar to Henry Law, also played by David, he left his family and a son called Gabriel, back in the 60's. Gabriel York, like Andrew goes to find his father, he travels to Australia to follow a series of postcards his father sent. Gabriel meets Gabrielle York and they fall in love. Gabrielle has had a trouble family life which as it turns out is linked to Gabriel's. Confused?
Ok let's start again Elizabeth Law and Henry Law had a child Gabriel Law. Henry Law disappeared to Australia. Gabriel Law went to Australia, met and fell in love with Gabrielle York, they had a child Gabriel York who had a son Andrew Price. What I have missed out is that you see Gabrielle York later in her life with her new partner Joe Ryan! The play, amongst all this does look at the way people cope or don't cope with the tragedy in their lives, it also skimming looks at the effects of Alzheimer.
The staging was interesting, very plain with an angled back area and sky. it was effective but not the most imaginative. The set was co-designed by Tom Bannerman and Martelle Hunt. I have seen this play before and the two productions were very different. Both have left me with a sense of, is Bovell just trying to be too clever at the detriment of simply giving the audience some simple escapism entertainment?
Credit: Photo © Bob Seary