From The Jam Factory – Sarah Hyndman.

When the Rain Stops Falling at the Almeida Theatre

Posted in With Relish by Type Tasting on May 22, 2009
When the Rain Stops Falling at the Almeida Theatre

When the Rain Stops Falling at the Almeida Theatre

A story of an extinct fish that falls from the sky, that we should say “I love you” and that inevitability is inevitable.

The press night after show party was a lively and thoroughly enjoyable do with past cast members mingling with those who’ve now moved in. Autograph hunters peered through the big glass doors as actors including a flamboyant Matt Smith (the new Doctor Who) partied with Naomi Bently and Lisa Dillon from the cast, and Andrew Lincoln and David Morrissey from previous productions.

Each play and company changes the atmosphere of the chameleon-like theatre as the actors make the whole space their home for the duration of the run. Sit in the bar after the play and sooner or later the actors and creatives will be sitting around you chatting which is quite a unique experience.

We designed the marketing materials for When the Rain Stops Falling about a year ago, long before casting or set design. It was an interesting remit – to conjure up the haunting timelessness of the Coorong without being too Australian whilst reflecting the play’s Englishness. We were really pleased with the scale of the photo of the Gormley statues on the back wall banner and word in the bar was that it was liked!

When the Rain Stops Falling was an epic drama spanning 4 generations of a family from England in the 1950s to Australia in 2038. It was a beautiful story written by Lantana writer Andrew Bovell that unfolded to a background of rain, a falling fish and monochromatic projections behind a simple wooden stage. (The audience on the front row shared in the experience of the rain and a glass of wine thrown in the heat of an argument).

The play revealed the unrequited lives of two women. From their hopeful 20s with the promise of love and futures abruptly brought to an end, then their sadness 24 years later as they contemplated their unfulfilled lives. At times both young and older actresses were on stage together, emphasising the gulf between the promises of their youth and the reality.

It was the men that took the play travelling around the world as, one by one, they left to either escape themselves or follow the past in an attempt to discover why their fathers left when they were so young.

I found it enchanting and loved the characters as they revealed themselves through tragedies, strengths and inevitabilities. Despite the thread of sadness and betrayal running through it’s a strong story with a strangely hopeful and uplifting ending. The final scene leaves you as an audience member in the satisfyingly omipotent position of understanding symbolism that the characters on stage can never understand as only you have seen the full story.

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