100% Chance of Rain
Reviewed – 11th March 2019
“There are many engaging elements of this show”
Chickenshed Theatre prides itself on creating theatre in response to issues which are ever-present in our society. Following last spring’s critically acclaimed show, Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow, they present 100% Chance of Rain, which focuses on mental health and wellbeing.
The show, conceived and directed by Lou Stein, consists of seven standalone segments highlighting different issues relating to the main topic of mental health. These are split up with the addition of an art therapist character, Liz Abulafia (Belinda McGuirk), delivering various monologues and introducing the different parts. Each piece was devised as a result of workshops in which the young performers were encouraged to share their experiences and thoughts in relation to the different issues and themes explored.
The first entitled “Sweet Dreams” explores self-harm through a combination of abstract words and verbatim, as well as stylised movement. This is a powerful sequence and the young people involved display a high level of commitment to and empathy with the subject matter.
In “Head Above Water”, stress, anxiety and depression are explored. A clever design element is used here, with people rolling across the front of the stage under a large piece of material, simulating water and waves. This, combined with the movements delivered by the performers, makes for a visually exciting piece.
Chickenshed’s Vocal Voices perform during the evening. Musical Director Dave Carey (assisted by Cara McInanny) ensures the group’s performance is one of the main strengths of the show and adds to its overall intensity. An acapella arrangement of Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black, sandwiched between two of the show’s early sections, is particularly stunning. An arrangement of This Boy by Tom Baxter towards the end of the show is also well delivered with lovely harmonies. It would have been beneficial for more of this type of singing to have been included to further showcase the talents of the performers.
The design (Sebastian Gonzalez) provides some interesting elements. The stage is framed by umbrellas, a nod to the show’s title. A large screen at the back of the stage displays visual features such as text and multimedia elements. Lighting design (Andrew Caddie) is good and complements the emotions and moods portrayed well.
There are many engaging elements of this show, be it lighting, vocals, choreography or the important subject matter. However, what predominantly shines through and is the most endearing is the sense of community that is clear to see. As with all Chickenshed shows, each and every person involved, regardless of ability, is 100% committed to what they are doing and clearly care for one another.
Reviewed by Emily K Neal
Photography by Daniel Beacock
100% Chance of Rain
Chickenshed Theatre until 30th March
Previously reviewed at this venue: