Photos - Jeff Busby
When the Rain Stops Falling is a distinctive, portentous and mesmeric piece of theatre. Terrific entertainment from first to last, it’s an unlikely meditative and gut-wrenching tragedy, that crosses continents as it reveals the love, betrayal and abandonment within a family over four generations. It’s a disturbingly cynical work that will likely fascinate pretty much anyone because the characters use authentic dialogue that tumbles so fast and cleverly that there is little time for niceties. Andrew Bovell’s script has that rare quality of being smart and sometimes brilliant yet also cold, exciting and perceptive. Every bit as spruce as the writing, are fine performances from an excellent ensemble, Chris Drummond’s sharp direction and Quentin Grant’s stylish score. Together all these elements make for an addictive and often chilling theatrical experience.
The play opens with a miracle. A fish falls from the sky and lands at the feet of Gabriel York. Although he doesn’t believe in God or miracles, Gabriel counts his blessings - because he’s in Alice Springs and in the year 2039 fish are almost extinct. But the story really beings in 1950s London, when his grandfather, Henry Law (both played by Neil Pigot) predicted the miraculous event would herald a deluge that would consume humanity.
Through a montage of interconnected stories, the story of how both Henry and Gabriel are exiled to Alice Springs eighty years apart is revealed with great emotional impact. Throughout the unfortunate tale, the sins of the father loom large over the ill-fated lives of their sons. In the finale, when Gabriel opens a suitcase, containing family relics, in front of his estranged son Andrew, the audience is aware of the significance of the items – they both muse over the mysterious objects and there is a true reconciliation and the pattern of abandonment, lies and secrets that began eighty years earlier is finally over.
But In the main, the story follows Gabriel Law (Yalin Ozucelik), who follows his missing father, Henry, to Australia. Gabriel’s mother, (Carmel Johnson) refuses to speak about her emigrant husband. In the Coorong, Gabriel meets a young woman named Gabrielle (Anna Lise Phillips). Unbeknown to them both, fate had already linked them to Henry who also passed through the region when Gabrielle’s younger brother disappeared. The result of their brief union is a child also named Gabriel who runs away to Alice Springs only to be tracked down eventually by his son Andrew. With this reunion the intriguing cycle concludes with rays of hope as the incessant rain finally stops falling.
On the whole, When The Rain Stops Falling is an exigent drama that is well worth seeing more than once.
A collaboration with Hossein Valamanesh and Brink Productions
When The Rain Stops Falling
by Andrew Bovell
Director Chris Drummond
Venue: Her Majesty's Theatre, Adelaide
Dates: 14 - 16 Oct (preview 13 Oct)
Times: Evenings 8pm and Sat matinee 2:30pm
Tickets: $19.95 - $60
Bookings: BASS bass.net.au | 131 246 | any BASS outlet