Iron Lung Theatre brings Melbourne audiences a nuanced rendition of Andrew Bovell’s “When The Rain Stops Falling”. There is pathos and rewarding revelations at the final station. Just be prepared to stay onboard this multi generational journey running approximately 135 minutes no interval.

Alice Springs over several generations leading up to 2039 the story is unveiled. Always seemingly in the wet season. It starts with figures running across the stage in a downpour and a single fish plummets to the floor. Potentially the only good news this town has seen in many a lifetime. The set design by Greg Clarke is complementary to the action and has rewarding moments towards the end of production as does the play. The floor itself is a stickly vinyl like material that reflects the essence of water and makes all the characters leave sticky sounding footprints throughout their Jjourneys. The footprints of the past will be acknowledged one way or another. The opening monologue is delivered well and a reunion between the absent father delivering it and the abandoned son is put on the table for later consumption, along with the fish.

Darrin Verhagen gives us a continual rainy soundscape that complements Clare Springett’s lighting design and Clarke’s minimal but effective set. Dripping along in the background with a misty fog heavy in the air, the audience is always being affected by the weather. Whilst the characters of the story are forced to weather the trauma passed on to them from their parents and grandparents.

With posied sparse staging, director Briony Dunn brings tension to every scene setting an overall tone for the production. This works well for the majority of the scenes but sets a heaviness to the work and when the pace drops even a little you really feel the two hours plus running time with no interval.

The only criticism of this work is the dead middle section where the pace is not quite there with unearned pauses anchoring the pace further. It is a slow burn piece of writing but if it gets drawn out too much you lose the audience before the climax comes round.

What a climax though! Bovell weaves an intricate story that comes full circle in the final quarter. Flashing back and forth in time the audience is suddenly thrown into the present where generations of trauma finally come to the boil and erupt over the grand children of broken families. Strong performances all round from the cast really bring this work home. Some of the final scenes leave an impact on the viewer that hangs in the air like the mist long after the actors have left the stage. Special mention to Heather Bolton and Margaret Mills who brought a very believable weight and gravitas to their characters. Plus great casting of Alex Pinder as the loveable Joe, who brought great physicality to the role.

The ending is fantastic and deserved more space that the rest of the play took up. The eruption of unsaid things finally surfacing was poignant, well directed and cleverly staged by Dunn.

Event details

Iron Lung Theatre presents
When The Rain Stops Falling
by Andrew Bovell

Director Briony Dunn

Venue: Theatre Works | 14 Acland Street, St Kilda VIC
Dates: 10 – 31 July, 2021
Tickets: $45 – $35


Related Articles

Frozen | Disney Theatrical Productions Frozen | Disney Theatrical Productions
In between lockdowns, Melbourne gets a little ray of winter sunshine in the form of Frozen the musical. Released in 2013, Disney's animated feature, Frozen was an instant smash hit, taking more...
Magic Mike Live Magic Mike Live
If you’re looking for a night of sleazy crotch grabbing and inappropriate grinding, then Magic Mike Live is not the show for you. If you’re looking for a night of sleazy crotch grabbing and...

Most read Melbourne reviews

Accompanied by the incredible Melbourne Sympathy Orchestra under the direction of Benjamin...

The Music of the Night presented by Spears Entertainment indulged my love of all things...

Based on real life events, The Lifespan of a Fact dissects what happens when the truth gets in...

Ultimately, Fangirls really holds together because the entire cast is so awesome, with amazing...

Opera lovers will get their fill of vibrato and resonance from the stand out performances...