When it Rains, Pleasance Dome, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
2b theatre company.
Anthony Black (writer / director), Christian Barry (sound designer / dramaturg), Nick Bottomley (projection designer), Leesa Hamilton (costume designer), Robert Tracey (technical director).
Anthony Black (Alan), Francine Deschepper (Sybil), Pierre Simpson (Louis), Samantha Wilson (Anna).
Running time

This is the story of four people. So announces a computerised female voice as the spotlit heads of the cast appear, each with their character’s names projected above.

They are two married couples, Alan and Sybil and Alan’s sister Anna with her French husband Louis. They met and are bound by small, unremarkable circumstances.

But perhaps these circumstances are less likely, what are the chances, muse Alan and Sybil that they would be here, somewhat self-contentedly awaiting the birth of their child? There are so many historical and evolutionary branches, turns, twists and dead ends that life itself is a miracle.

Somewhat less self-satisfied are Anna and Louis, reunited after a student romance based largely on lust, she now feels inferior, excluded and lonely. Not without cause, as lecturer Louis is in lecherous pursuit of one of his pupils.

Not only the bad seem to suffer however, as Alan now finds himself making a $13 million typo mistake at work and looking at the odds of losing a testicle. Perhaps it’s like the biblical book of Job, a little wager with the Devil to see if a tormented man will turn his back on God?

Not that Alan’s one for spirituality, finding faith in averages and standards and mocking his sister’s avoidance of real life in adopting eastern mysticism, yoga and soya milk. Louis meanwhile experiments with hedonism and a life on the streets after being thrown out of the house.

These are terribly broken people, there is infidelity everywhere and when it rains, it pours. The worst is yet to come.

If there is no cosmic balancing act is there something guiding their actions? The giant screen behind them certainly seems to be toying with them. As coincidences and consequences rack up it shows stage directions, plot spoilers and is not beyond making life or death decisions, apparently on a whim.

Described as a “live-action existential graphic novel”, the production uses projections to provide not just text but silhouetted scenery in a sort 80’s computer graphic style. Though sometimes basic these are very effective on a few occasions.

Unusual, eccentric and blackly humorous, it’s slickly done but remains a little flat and it’s difficult to regard the somewhat whiny characters as tragic in their search for the meaning of life.

Show Times: 2 - 23 August 2014 (not 6, 11, 18) at 3.35pm.

Ticket Prices: £8 - £9.50 (£7 - £8.50).

Suitability: 16+ (contains nudity and strong language)