Tag Archives: David Furlong

The Wind and the Rain


Finborough Theatre

THE WIND AND THE RAIN at the Finborough Theatre


“while Hodge’s plot is a little thin, his dialogue is plenty fun, giving rise to some excellent performances.”


I love a quiet story, where nothing much appears to happen, while tension and longing roil beneath the surface. The Wind and the Rain is so almost that, but unfortunately tensions are a little too tepid and nothing ever really comes to bear.

A group of 1930s medical students move into their lodgings for the new academic year. Tritton (Joe Pitts), a newcomer and awfully serious about his studies, finds himself falling for young Kiwi sculptor, Anne (Naomi Preston-Low), despite being as good as betrothed back in London.

And that’s pretty much the whole story. There’s no slow development between the love birds, barring their first meeting, so the meat of the plot happens right at the beginning. We do eventually meet Tritton’s betrothed, Jill, but despite this being a highlight, she’s such an obviously poor match, and Tritton disapproves of her behaviour so entirely, that it’s completely implausible they’ll end up together.

Director Geoffrey Beevers seems desperate to find some juicy subtext, and some of the lines are delivered so bizarrely in the opening act, I wonder if this isn’t going to become a thriller. The looks between the two long-term tenants when their new lodger arrives suggests something very foreboding indeed, and John Williams (Harvey Cole) who is generally the relief, mutters with fear, “I’m sweating”. On discussing her sympathy for newcomers learning the ropes, Mrs McFie, the po-faced landlady, ominously remarks, “There’s an awful lot you’d be better off not knowing.”

The theatre’s website mentions that this story is likely inspired by writer Merton Hodge’s own experiences “as a bisexual man in the 1930s”, which might explain Beever’s attempted angle, but there doesn’t appear to be any hint of Hodge’s bisexuality in the text itself, so instead we have these strange moments of forced tension that don’t make any sense with the actual dialogue.

That being said, while Hodge’s plot is a little thin, his dialogue is plenty fun, giving rise to some excellent performances.

Jenny Lee’s Mrs McFie is wonderfully odd, desperate to be in company, but deaf to social cues, and I feel rather sorry for her when her tenants so often interrupt her ramblings and send her off to fetch coal or dinner.

As I mentioned, the appearance of Jill, played by Helen Reuben, is a treat, bringing a taste of London glitz to the drab student lodgings. She’s presumably supposed to seem frivolous beside Tritton’s new love, earnest Anne, but Reuben makes her the fizz in the champagne, and everyone else appears dull and repressed in her presence.

Her escort, Roger, played by Lynton Appleton, is another highlight, playing a perfectly pretentious idiot and offering some much-needed silliness. Appleton later appears as a very green, awkward new student in the final scene, and while the plot’s pace has, by this point, nearly entirely dropped off, Appleton is quietly acting his socks off in the corner, despite having very few lines.

Carla Evans has designed a straight-forward, but wonderfully detailed set, complete with a buck’s head above a tiled fireplace, a kitchen crockery display cabinet and a beautiful old record player. The passing of time is denoted by the ritualistic changing of tablecloths, which seems a bit unnecessary and adds long minutes to an already long play.

There is definitely something to this story, but Beever hasn’t quite hit the nail on the head in the execution. Or perhaps, given it was written in the ‘30s, The Wind and the Rain might be more suited to a loose adaptation than a true-to-script production.



Reviewed on 13th July 2023

by Miriam Sallon

Photography by Mark Senior



Previously reviewed at this venue:


Salt-Water Moon | ★★★★ | January 2023
Pennyroyal | ★★★★ | July 2022
The Straw Chair | ★★★ | April 2022
The Sugar House | ★★★★ | November 2021


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Great Expectations


Playground Theatre

Great Expectations

Playground Theatre

Reviewed – 16th December 2019



“an immensely impressive show: beautifully directed, with a brilliant cast and gorgeous mise en scène”


Theatre Lab Company brings to the Playground Theatre their gothic twist on the classic Charles Dickens’ tale, Great Expectations.

The well-known to British audiences tale of love, loss and journey from rags to riches got some intensive and extensive tuning. While retaining the main, basic plotline, Theatre Lab Company’s adaptation completely changes perspective and load factor, shifting attention to a more feminine point of view.

Cleverly adapted by Lydia Vie, the show’s main focus is on Miss Havisham (Helen Bang) and her doomful influence on Estella (Denise Moreno) and Pip’s (Samuel Lawrence) lives and their relationship; she remains on stage throughout almost the entire first act. Bang’s star shines the brightest of the entire – admittedly brilliant – cast, with hardly any stage movement whatsoever, her ferocity and vulnerability create a powerful, emotional volcano. Lawrence and Moreno are excellent as never-to-be lovers, and the arc of their relationship, particularly in the context of the very subtly altered ending, is beautifully complete. The other subplots are sort of rushed and actors, except Shaun Amos (Herbert Pocket), hardly have time for their characters to really vibrate on a similar wavelength.

The most impressive part of this show is, and by far, the direction by Anastasia Revi. The exceptional set (Eirini Kariori) and lighting design (Chuma Emembolu) help to build a gloomy, gothic atmosphere. Scenes from Pip and Estella’s childhood are especially engaging, played to the haunting tune of The Garden by Einsturzende Neubaten. Scene shifts are beautifully subtle and the use of dance immensely clever. It is, by all means, a five star direction of a show that otherwise tells a tiny bit too much and shows a tiny bit not enough.

Pacing of the adaptation is probably its biggest downside of. The first act is 70 minutes long, whereas the second one lasts only 30 minutes – the story in the first is unwinding slow, which results in the second act being crammed with the biggest reveals and the story “jumping” from one character to another just to finish their respective subplots. It does not, though, diminish the opportunity to immerse oneself in this show – there is just too much to admire.

It is, overall, an immensely impressive show: beautifully directed, with a brilliant cast and gorgeous mise en scène. The perfect play it is not – but you will love it.


Reviewed by Dominika Fleszar

Photography by Panayis Chrysovergis


Great Expectations

Playground Theatre


Previously reviewed at this venue:
Fanatical – the Musical | ★★★ | November 2018
Sacha Guitry, Ma Fille Et Moi | ★★★½ | January 2019
My Brother’s Keeper | ★★★★ | February 2019
Gaslight | ★★★★ | October 2019
The Jazz Age | ★★★★★ | October 2019


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