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Be Rain For Me (Re:Play Manchester)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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After the death of the grandmother by whom she was raised Willow (Susi Wrenshaw who also wrote the play) finds disturbing evidence of the reasons why she was relinquished by her birth parents.

Wrenshaw has an absolute gift for dialogue and the exchanges between Willow and her friend Leah (a sparking performance from Amy Spencer) are crammed with convincing and amusing incidental detail. Russell Kennedy, as dominating father Ray, enjoys the psychological menace in his speeches.

Director Matthew Ganley takes a naturalistic approach to bring the various elements together. The brevity of the play does not, however, allow for the motivations of the parents to be explored in the depth required for the plot to be wholly credible.

The effort of the cast to compensate exaggerates some of the scenes between the parents. A more abstract directorial style- treating each scene as a ‘ snapshot’ rather than part of a continuous link- might have worked but really this is one of those rare plays where a slightly longer running time would have been welcome.

The care taken by Happystorm Theatre to ensure a quality production is apparent throughout the play including the atmospheric folk-based music composed and performed by Ganley .

- Dave Cunningham

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