Review: When the rain stops falling

by librarykris on August 4, 2011

When the rain stops falling

When the rain stops falling‘ has a challenging narrative and structure – one actor (x2) plays two characters, two actors (x2) play one character, three characters have the same name, and the timeline spans 80 years. There’s a family tree in the programme to help keep the characters sorted but even then it can be tricky.

It’s worth it.

The play is a riff on genealogy, cultural heritage, consequences, and the impact of humans on the planet.  The words are lyrical and beautiful.  There are phrases and gestures that are repeated, linking the years and the characters together.

It’s set in England and Australia.  Henry (Jason Whyte) and Elizabeth (Alison Walls) are where our story starts – in the timeline at least. Whyte is a cleverly self-contained Englishman and Walls is superb as the wronged wife. Next in the timeline are Elizabeth (Donna Akersten), Gabriel (Richard Chapman) and Gabrielle (Sophie Hambleton).  Akersten is a wonderful ‘woman with a secret’. Chapman and Hambleton take the relationship between their characters and make it incredibly sweet. Gabrielle (Jude Gibson) and Joe (Christopher Brougham) bring the story closer to our own time. They are both wonderful in portraying the relationship between the two characters. The last pairing, Gabriel (Jason Whyte) and Andrew (Richard Chapman), are well into the future. Their story wraps up the narrative with a beautifully choreographed sequence.

I loved the look of the production. It’s fairly sparse – a floor, a table, some chairs, a coat rack, a serving board, and a screen. The stage floor reflects a desert surface. It includes circles which  imitate both the way water ripples out from a droplet and raked circles in a zen garden. You can hear some of the sound design on the trailer.

A clever piece of storytelling which is worth making the effort to understand what’s going on. (Please go and see it so Circa can do more like this.)

  • When the rain stops falling plays at Circa Theatre until 27 August.

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