Tue 15th – Sat 19th May 2012


Rachel Hutchings

at 22:38 on 15th May 2012



When I recently asked my 11 year old brother if he knew what he wanted to do with his life he replied that all he could say was that he would like to do something memorable. As he said this I remembered that at his age, and even right up until A-Levels when you are still clinging on to the last remnants of childhood, my friends and I wanted this as well. Despite not knowing in what direction, everyone wanted their lives to take them somewhere, and for the majority, university was where they would discover that. Almost two years through, with still no idea where your life is going yet no childhood excuse to fall back on, a sentiment embraced by many a second year student, is encapsulated in ‘The Rain Starts A-Fallin'', a story of a group of people at a school reunion, with flashbacks to their schooldays and demonstrating how far they had come since their classroom musings of ‘what is good, if it is not to change the world?’

Despite using the rather predictable setting of a school reunion to channel the retrospective feelings of a group of graduates having left school, the play was a relevant look at the issues that face many young people today. It was a very relatable play, with many references to the dreaded UCAS applications, internship recruitment posters and the mysterious realm of management consultancy, but I can’t see that it would have had as much impact on someone who had not been faced with those decisions. It is a play that will be very much of its time, but in spite of this was a witty and honest representation of student life.

It was a great strength of the play to use Bob Dylan and his work as a consistent metaphor throughout of defiance, rebellion and a desire for change. ‘The Wall’ at the back of the set, which had at its centre a large photograph of Dylan, as well as fliers from other indie bands, demonstrated the ideas and concepts that when at school, people want to talk about and which to inspired them to change the world, and its removal by the time of the school reunion ten years later was an effective manifestation of the destruction of hope and aspiration. As well as this, a passionate speech about ‘what happened in 1965’ by resident rebel Quinn, played well by Thomas Oliver and some classic Dylan tracks in-between scenes brought the play in line with an edging on polemic look at choice, conviction and irony.

The three main characters Ellis, Anna and Colin, (played by Andy Butler, Emily Stewart and Jack Levy respectively) had good chemistry, although the best performance was Ben Currie as Miles, who despite only fleeting appearances, had an instrumental stage presence that managed to convey much of the sentiment, without the need for any dialogue, which at times from other characters felt a little long-winded and contrived. On the whole, it was a good production, the music and sets providing an appropriate background for the characters. There were some amusing one-liners, but much of the comedy and appeal was situational and I think would have only been interesting if like me, you could pick up on all of the cynical comments about A-Level education, my personal favourite being the suggestion that in an essay on Wilfred Owen, Colin just write that there was an ‘underlying current of homosexuality.’

'The Rain Starts A-Fallin’' was the attitude and emotions of current students incarnate, and writer Rory Platt’s observant writing is commendable. As a second year undergraduate, you will enjoy this play, if only for the assurance that someone else is experiencing the same doubts and pressures as well.


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