Camden Fringe 2012
Down Came The Rain
The Raven Theatre Company
Camden People's Theatre
Down Came The Rain is a simple and effective piece of storytelling that makes compelling theatre. Set in a shed on a rainy night in Somerset in 1968, the production sees two women with dreams and fears struggling with life and this adventure and the lure of the escape from surburbia ultimately tests their friendship. When an unexpected visitor turns up they go with their guts, sometimes to their great detriment.
Down Came The Rain is a captivating play. The concept is believable and the set and costumes back this up very convincingly. The set features a mish-mash of items that would be in a shed and the two girls seriously convince me that they are drinking the rancid old bottles of half drunk booze. The record player is a nice touch. The play is well lit by Amy Palmer and Craig West from Fruition Arts and effectively captures the dank darkness of a shed on a rainswept night.
The performances are all powerful. Laura Rugg is strong as the ever knocked back Ruth Taylor. Her character is complex and she explores the various layers of this with precise brushstrokes. Jade Allen is convincing as the manipulator Betty Wilson. All sweetness and light on the outside and darkly passionate and hard on the inside. These aren’t easy emotions to convey on stage and Allen excels here. Ben Hale playing Ruth’s wayward and just out of gaol husband Ray Taylor is suitably troubled and Hale really embodies this character with utmost conviction.The characters and actors meld into one and Down Came The Rain transports you to a different world.
Most of the time I am saying the opposite to this because I like short sharp shows, however it would be nice to see a lengthened version of this with more detail applied. Down Came The Rain feels a little rushed and some of the storylines could have been explored further. The characters are intruiguing and it would be fascinating to know more. It was difficult to see the action taking place on the floor of the stage due to where I was sitting. This is something that should perhaps be taken into consideration when looking at sight lines when performing this again. This is a very small note on what is an excellent production of new writing on the fringe. The Raven Theatre Company are one to watch.