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When the Rain Stops Falling | Sydney Theatre Company and Brink Productions
Written by Augusta Supple   
Wednesday, 13 May 2009 09:44
When the Rain Stops Falling | Sydney Theatre Company and Brink ProductionsLeft - Carmel Johnson & Kris McQuade. Cover - Neil Pigot and Michaela Cantwell. Photos - Wend Lear


From the very first moment when we are cocooned in darkness listening to the sound of rain as it splashes down, to the silence of the cast as they lift their eyes listening for rain: we are completely transported to other times, other places: other than the here and now.

Developed by Adelaide based Brink Productions over four years and multiple creative contributors, When the Rain Stops Falling is a fascinating and unique theatrical experience and a must see for this years subscriber season.

Andrew Bovell, best known for writing AFI/IF/AWGIE/FCCA Award winning Lantana and as co-writer of Strictly Ballroom, has returned to writing for the stage for the first time in five years. Collaborating with director Chris Drummond, the artistic Director of Brink Productions, designer Hossein Valamanesh and an ensemble of actors Bovell’s play speaks of space, place and time in series of intertwining and overlapping scenes.

We are taken into the future and into two layers of the past, we are transported across continents and sand dunes into the realities of a roadhouse waitress in the Coorong, Gabrielle York (Anna Lise Phillips/ Kris McQuade) and the domestic agony of British Elizabeth Law (Carmel Johnson). The story balances the lives of three generations, who are simultaneously separated and bound by the actions of one another: actions which ricochet throughout the lives of the descendants and culminate in a tattered suitcase of disparate items held by Gabriel York (Neil Pigot).

The world onstage of When the Rain Stops Falling is an achingly familiar but somehow strange world. Places and times played during the show are everywhere but the here and now: cleverly putting the audience in the implied centre of the action. As we map the journey of Henry Law (Neil Pigot), Elizabeth Law (Michaela Cantwell/Carmel Johnson), Gabriel Law (Yalin Ozucelik), Gabrielle York (Anna Lise Phillips/ Kris McQuade), Gabriel York (Neil Pigot), Joe Ryan (Paul Blackwell) and Andrew Price (Yalin Ozucelik), we are treated to a ripple effect, (or is it more of a Doppler effect?) of verbal, physical, tangible  reoccurrences. Time and place collides and momentarily synchronizes… Sentences, subjects, themes, images echo through the characters interactions: Diderot, fish soup, and well worn sayings about Bangledesh…

This is a play about moving on, about loss, about absence, about that which is unimaginable becoming reality, and about making the best of it all for life will continue regardless of what one expects. This is both comforting and tragic in equal measure.

Brink Productions has produced a beautiful and challenging work in the spirit of Complicite, and Lepage and should be commended for their perseverance, vision, passion and dedication. This is a skilfully crafted piece of theatre - beautifully written, truthfully performed by a superb cast and inventively executed by both director Chris Drummond and designer Hossein Valamanesh. When the Rain Stops Falling is an impressive and unique experience which I am sure will be regarded as one of the great Australian plays.

Sydney Theatre Company presents Brink Productions’
by Andrew Bovell

Director Chris Drummond

Venue: Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House
Dates: 7 May to 13 June 2009
Tickets: $30 - $85
Bookings: 9250 1777 |
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Comments (2)

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'Rain' is a beautifully tragic play. One of the most moving and yet invisible elements of the production, which is not mentioned in the review, is the exquisitely crafted live music performed and composed by Quentin Grant. It is a must see.
Anna Christina , May 28, 2009
Jason Whittaker
I thought this was a really beautiful work. Andrew Bovell again twists various narratives together to create a coherent and very moving whole. Perhaps we'll see this on the screen...? At least a return performance elsewhere in the country, I hope...
Jason Whittaker , July 05, 2009

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