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Review: ‘When the Rain Stops Falling’ by Andrew Bovell
A Red Dog Production
Everyman Theatre, 2 – 5 October 2019
In Andrew Bovell’s postmodern masterpiece, ‘When the Rain Stops Falling’, four generations grapple with the lure of Australia. Once thought to be the end of the world, Australia has been both a place of banishment and the ultimate escape. Red Dog’s multimedia theatre project explores this paradox under a soundscape of relentless rainfall. Bovell ensures that every line is packed with weighted-meaning and the cast ooze with sincerity. The result is breath-taking.
Simon Ryder’s video footage flips from a simple window into London life in the 1960s to draw on the vast landscapes of Uluru and the beauties of the world, threatened by global warming. This provides an epic backdrop to a series of very intimate and personal stories.
Under the sensitive direction of Fi Ross, the cast steadily reveal the tenderness and vulnerability of the relationships at play within four generations of the same family. Parallels are drawn between the different parent and child relationships through cleverly woven patterns in the language and physicality. This is echoed in the simultaneous presence of younger and older versions of the same characters, aching to escape their pasts. Here, Shared Experience fans will recognise notes of Nancy Meckler’s influence on movement director, Emma Webb’s, well-orchestrated cast. Beautifully crafted physicalisation softens the oppressive threat of apocalypse and the cataclysmic rain, drawing us to invest in each character’s personal struggle with ‘love, betrayal, abandonment and, ultimately, hope’ in their own private world. These worlds resonate with the way we build and break our own relationships in the current cultural climate, making the play so very relevant for this day and age.
Like Australia, our characters face the paradoxical fight of each seeking freedom whilst yearning for a sense of belonging. Gabriel Law laments to his mother over his longing to see Australia: ‘to have a different sky over my head than the one I was born with’. His trip leads him away from a difficult life with his parents to meet Gabrielle, whose past is equally tormented. In their longing for a new world, they find themselves unable to escape the imprint of their parents’ behaviours: actions that will revisit and haunt generations to come.
In the space of two hours, Red Dog theatre company place their audience under the incubator to consider the things we want to avoid, the things we need to face and the things we can never outrun, asking ‘Will our world survive us?’ I urge you, if you can, to catch the tour of this deeply-moving and thought-provoking drama. ‘When the Rain Stops Falling’ is at the Everyman Theatre Studio until Saturday 5th October.
Reviewed by Ginny Burge
The Mystery Reviewer
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