When the Rain Stops Falling by Andrew Bovell

‘When the Rain Stops Falling’ is an intergenerational play about family, betrayal, abandonment, forgiveness and love. It is set across continents in London, Adelaide, Alice Springs and the Coorong on the Southern coast of Australia and Uluru near Ayer’s Rock. It is also set over a series of time scales from 1959 into the future in 2039.

Henry Law is a very interesting character acted by Brighton Little Theatre veteran, Leigh Ward. Everything seems to be in place in his life in London until his wife makes a very devastating discovery. In the opening scene of ‘When the Rain Stops Falling’ he is in Australia and the question for the audience is why. How did he get there and why is he so far away from his family? Charlotte Atkinson provides some sparkling conversation and the scene, initially, is of domestic contentment. They have a son unexpectedly, later in life called Gabriel.

Gabriel Law is a young charmer on a road trip when he meets Gabrielle York acted by Holly Everett. This couple embody some of the fluidity of modern relationships as they try to work out what they want. It is good to see Daniel Carr take on a bigger part. He is convincing and at ease throughout the performance. A lot of the warmth in the play arises as we observe these young lovers.

Gabriel makes a flying visit to see his mother and we encounter Suzanne Heritage (Elizabeth Law older) who makes some tough decisions to protect her son that he does not understand.

One of the themes of ‘When the Rain Stops Falling’ is the need to let go of the past. The implication is that ghosts will haunt you, if you let them.

There is a lot of drama in the second half of the play. Tess Gill acts as Gabrielle York older and is very convincing. She is reaching the end of her life which could have turned out differently. Tragically, even as a youngster she did not feel, that lasting happiness was in her grasp.

Shocking revelations about Henry Law bring the play to a climax. His despair is palpable. The final scene is very clever with the whole cast on stage for lunch and much, as ever, remains unsaid.

Bovell’s play, ‘When the Rain Stops Falling’ is very realistic, containing awkward silences and mundane conversation as well as moments of connection and insight. It’s a depiction of everyday life where secrets are buried deep in the depths of a man’s soul. I recommend it, be warned, it contains adult themes.

Four stars ****