Tag Archives: Edward Lewis

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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The End of History – 3.5 Stars


The End of History

St Giles-in-the-Fields Church

Reviewed – 8th June 2018


“predominantly the writing is beautiful, lyrical and deeply human”


Paul smashes things, the city, the weekend, avocados. He works in marketing for a property development firm. London is a choice Paul made – he chose to move here and so he believes he has a greater claim to it than those who were simply born here. There are strangers in him though, Matt, Mark and Mike, the names he alternates between for Grindr hookups, and on certain mornings coffee menus look like hieroglyphics. Wendy has lived in London all her life. She is an art therapist working with alcoholics and homeless people. She carries a suitcase and a Sports Direct bag filled with possessions belonging to her ex-boyfriend. She might be going to Seville, maybe. They meet in St Giles Church, where the site-specific production is also performed. She is here for peace and quiet, he won’t stop checking his phone. She recognises him from when he knocked her bag over on the tube escalator this morning. He seems barely conscious of her existence.

As we learn about the two very different lives that have lead this pair to the same place, a narrative of disconnection becomes, at last, a story about connections made between people in the most unexpected of places. Two personal stories are contextualised by vital discussions about gentrification, homelessness and class. The characters are well-crafted, clearly defined, and delivered by equally strong performances from Sarah Malin as Wendy and Chris Polick as Paul. Polick’s performance is layered and moving, whilst Malin brings a playfulness to the script. This is a well balanced duo.

The majority of the piece is delivered in an unusual third person, with each actor doubling as the characters in the other’s life – distinctly different characters but never overdone. These moments of doubling, coupled with the moments of direct interaction, are some of the strongest of the show, and a little more focus on developing or extending these points could create a more balanced whole. The third person style takes a little longer to really engage with making for a slow start, and at points, the writing tries to do too much, it spills over with words. The epithet, “show, don’t tell” is applicable here. But predominantly the writing (by Marcelo Dos Santos) is beautiful, lyrical and deeply human, and the third person style seems to work more and more effectively as the production progresses. The gradual release of information, the witty grasp of language and the deeply moving trajectory are a credit to the quality of both the production’s writing and execution. Director Gemma Kerr has the actors utilising the whole space, delivering lines from different pews, from the pulpit even, which works really well.

The moments of music, composed by Edward Lewis are Sondheim-esque, talk/sung at points. The music is undoubtedly beautiful but these are not my favourite moments of the play – in fact the points where the actors speak over music chime more with me – but they do work and seem particularly appropriate in the church setting. Unfortunately Malin’s vocal capability is not quite up to some of the higher melodies, and these moments do take us out of the world of the play.

Some development is required for this piece to reach its full potential, but ‘The End of History’ is still a moving and powerful story, tender and personal, thought provoking in its social context.


Reviewed by Amelia Brown

Photography by Mike Massaro


The End of History

St Giles-in-the-Fields Church until 23rd June



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