Summer Rain

29 Nov

I should hate this production.

Not because of the performances, which are extraordinary. This cast is all class.

Not because of the direction: Trent Kidd’s debut is wonderful. In everything, from tone to tableau, he has created a beautiful piece of theatre.

Not because of the choreography: it’s delightful. (And also the work of Kidd.) I’d come back just for “Watch The Puddles”, performed by Catty Hamilton and Nat Jobe.

Not because of the music by Terence Clarke: Tim Cuniffe’s band is marvelous, and the singing gorgeous.

Not because of the set and costume: Mason Browne’s design is magnificent, and intriguingly versatile – at times evoking a Drysdale rural streetscape, and at others, the main bar of a country pub.

sr-8s

Photo by Chris Lundie 

No, I should hate this production because of the script.

For me, it’s the archetypal example of a certain school of theatre: one that values nostalgia, sentimentality and simplicity.

Set in rural Australia in 1945, but written in 1983, it harks back, ever back, to something we imagine we have lost, but we’ve probably just imagined. And, in telling the story of a family of travelling performers who shake up a small country town, it’s dreadfully self serving in its vision of theatre. And the characterization? Everyone has passions but no one has thoughts. (The feelings are laconically expressed, of course. The playwright was certainly a master of the Aussie vernacular.)

As I said, I should hate it.

But Nick Enright knew what he was doing. Like The Tempest, the work of the mature Shakespeare, Summer Rain is a deeply humane gift, a tale of wonder and of reconciliation. They’re great dramatic themes, some would say the greatest. The play is an invitation to open our eyes to joy. And I say Whacko to that.

Paul Gilchrist

 

Summer Rain 

Book and lyrics by Nick Enright, Music and arrangements by Terence Clarke

at New Theatre til 17 December

tix and info here

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One Response to “Summer Rain”

  1. G~ November 30, 2016 at 7:34 am #

    I didn’t think you’d get to the point as to why you should hate this script. The way you were going it sounded like an imminent surrender to no fault or honest reason, and concluding that it’s all good. 😂

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