I Hope It’s Not Raining In London

I Hope It’s Not Raining In London
By Nicholas Thoroughgood. Bearfoot Theatre. Tuggerah Season. Touring Nationally June / July 2019.

It’s a shame the arts funding is the way it is in this country, leaving emerging artists and companies needing to self-fund tours, because Bearfoot’s touring production of their acclaimed 2018 production I Hope It’s Not Raining In London deserves a longer run, in more locations, to more patrons.

The piece places two people unknown to one another in a small room, that feels almost like limbo. One has been in the room for a while and the other just arrived. Both have lost most of their memories, which, as they slowly open up to each other, begin to return, the good and the bad.

The piece has an incredibly eerie and unsettling feel; it leaves one unsure themselves, placing the audience in the characters’ shoes from the moment they enter the theatre. Riley McLean’s strong direction carries Nicholas Thoroughgood’s intricate and intriguing script powering forward throughout the piece’s 60 minute run time. The production’s technical design is extremely well crafted and elevates the sense of altered reality even further.

In the foyer the billing notes “in tonight’s performance” four performers share the two main roles, and as a result each audience will view a different combination of performers. This performance starred Cassie Hamilton and Zoe Walker, however, in reality, it feels more like an ensemble piece, with the two other artists very much in each performance playing other characters and creating the atmosphere of the world the two others are trapped in.

Hamilton commanded the stage in her performance as ‘One’, who is ending her journey, equally matched by Walker as ‘Two’, the more fragile of the characters. Both performances are solid and engaging. Both did incredibly well to project over a sudden (and slightly ironic) rainstorm that broke out over the venue. Daniel Cottier made light work of the mother trying to hold her family together in crisis, and Thoroughgood proves he is as captivating on stage as he is in his writing.

Putting aside a few opening night jitters, the production is fresh and engaging. Bearfoot has once again reaffirmed why it’s one of Australia’s foremost up and coming independent theatre companies.

Joshua Maxwell

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