Thursday, 16 April 2009

Three Days of Rain

I actually went to see England People Very Nice last night, but I'm still digesting it, so in the meantime I thought I'd tell you about Three Days of Rain instead.

This was another play seen on a bit of a whim, and another result for bargain theatre-going, with a balcony ticket bought a day earlier, converted into a circle ticket on the night.

The play is sold as jigsaw puzzle theatre, the audience being required to provide the thought (and presumably the nice padded tray) to put the pieces together. The question then becomes whether this is going to be an impossible 5,000 piecer or one designed for toddlers and clumsy fingers. Actually, although it wasn't anywhere near as tricksy as it thought it was, it was just about complicated enough to feel a mild sense of achievement at working it out.

The play starts with James McAvoy's first character addressing the audience directly in a broad american accent that threw me a bit at the start, but was soon assimilated into everything else going on. The basic structure is that the first half shows three people dealing with the aftermath of their parents' lives, and their attempts to interpret them, whilst the second half shows what actually happened. The dual roles where each actor played both the parent and child was very effective. The main revelation of the second half was easily guessed at, but there were plenty of other little lightbulb moments to keep me interested, and a very satisfying 'Ahhh... so that's it..' moment at the end which caused a little murmered ripple through the audience.

I loved the staging, particularly the curtains of rain, although I kept getting distracted by the puddles, and I thoroughly enjoyed the unpredictibility of some of the props - does the fruit roll about every night I wonder?

A family drama with enough unresolved points to keep me mulling them over for a day or so, and worth seeing for all sorts of reasons despite the critics, but James McAvoy's stammer is worth the price of the ticket by itself.