Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"Like the Rain" - October 2008

This grouping of three short plays by Tennessee Williams is being performed in the Tron's studio space as a companion piece to his "Suddenly Last Summer" which is playing in the main house. Rather cleverly it isn't on at the same time and instead follows on after the main show finishes using the same cast (with a nice ticket offer for those booking for both shows). It's a great concept which allows audiences to choose how long they wish to make their evening and it's something I'd certainly like to see more of.

"Hello from Bertha" is an effective little piece of theatre where we witness the final days of ailing prostitute Bertha (Muireann Kelly) as she is 'looked after' by Goldie (Jill Riddiford) who is balancing doing what's best for Bertha with the need to move her on from the brothel if she can no longer bring in an income. While the performances are strong the play simply isn't hard hitting enough to land more than a glancing blow on the audience.

On the other hand, "This Property is Condemned" pulls no punches in it's tale of a young girl literally on the wrong side of the tracks. Clare Yuille's portrayal of Willie is amusing and distressing in equal measures as we learn how she has inherited the interest of the many men who had previously enjoyed the company of her older sister. As she plays childishly on the rails in a dirty party dress, wearing costume jewellery and carrying her doll, the contrast with her tales of her admirers makes for devastatingly uncomfortable viewing.

Sadly, "Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen" concludes the evening on a rather unsatisfying note. Ross Stenhouse and Anita Vettesse give perfectly fine performances but the text seems thoroughly self indulgent and verges more towards poetry than anything dramatic or theatrical. It's also hampered by coming at a point where the seating is reaching the limits of remaining comfortable. If this had been dropped in favour of "A Perfect Analysis by a Parrot" which was performed as a curtain raiser to "Suddenly Last Summer" it would have finished off "Like the Rain" perfectly (although I guess they would have had to rename the collection!)

Steven Bain's soundscape and Malcolm Rogan's lighting design add brilliantly to Kirsty McCabe's design and Andy Arnold's direction. Despite the three distinct elements it does feel very much as one production, and while some parts are stronger than others, the whole is a definite success.

"Like The Rain" is part of Glasgay! and runs at the Tron until Saturday 8th November.