Chasing Rainbows is the third play from A Rebours Theatre Company, founded in Manchester in 2009 by Matthew Hattersley and writer/director Gavin Crippin. The story is set in Sheffield in 1996 and focuses on a working class family struggling to make ends meet (and get along) before the dawn of New Labour.
Described as a coming of age drama, the play opens with monologues from all 6 characters explaining their personal situations, goals and dreams. Before the real action begins we are shown footage of Tony Blair and his party’s promises of hope. Though these characters are all negatively affected by Post-Thatcher Britain, we aren’t witness to the excitement and hope that swept the country for the changes that Labour could make, which I feel was an opportunity missed.
There is a great premise for a story that could really dig deep and unearth a gripping plot, but disappointingly the script needs more work to achieve that. There were some good performances, but they were mostly hindered by untruthful dialogue and unnatural direction.
The thumping soundtrack of Pulp, Shed Seven and James took us back to the time, but unfortunately this was the only hopeful nod to the nostalgia of a new government, Cool Britannia and the European Cup.