Tag Archives: Richard Williamson

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


Click here to read all our latest reviews


The Mistake

The Mistake


Arcola Theatre

THE MISTAKE at the Arcola Theatre


The Mistake

“This is not an easy watch by any stretch, but it’s an important one.”


“Not so long ago in a land far away…” Michael Mears begins, as though telling an old folk tale. The tragedy of Hiroshima does indeed feel like a story, so unreal in its violence and scope, so evil in its intentions. But of course, it’s not a story: On the 6th August 1945 at 8:15am, the USA dropped the first atomic bomb, killing around 100,000 citizens and injuring generations to come.

Mears’ script tells the tale from multiple perspectives- a young woman caught in the blast, the pilot who actually did the deed, and a scientist whose research was integral to the initial science that made it possible. In this way, we see, not just the catastrophic effects, but also how many people were involved in the decision, and how many opportunities they had to make a different one.

Mears and Emiko Ishii play multiple roles, swapping easily with the mere change of an accent and a different jacket. It’s easy enough to understand who is playing whom, whilst also having the effect of showing how much all of these people have in common. If one had simply been born in a different time or country, how different their destinies might have been.

The performances are generally understated, allowing the script, often verbatim, to do the talking. It’s tempting to imagine this with a full cast, but Mears and Ishii do an excellent job at keeping storylines clear and lending a different atmosphere to each character.

What with all the chopping and changing between timelines and characters, and the major occurrence happening right at the beginning, the dynamics of tension are a little erratic, but I suppose the alternative would have been a sustained tension, which would have been emotionally exhausting, even more so than this story already necessarily is.

Mark Friend’s staging is respectfully simple- a chalk board, a walking stick, and two briefcases full of costumes do all the heavy lifting. Where called for, the chalk board becomes the unsteady wings of a plane, the walking stick becomes a spade, shovelling dead bodies into a fire. The only prop that remains sacred is a small red notebook, the diary of 21-year-old Nomura Shigeko who survived the initial blast, only to become one of its victims in a slow, painful death caused by radiation.

This is not an easy watch by any stretch, but it’s an important one. Mears has found a way to communicate a catastrophe that is near unspeakable, forcing his audience to look directly at what humanity is capable of, and asking if we really learned anything from this mistake.



Reviewed on 31st January 2023

by Miriam Sallon

Photography by Simon Richardson



Previously reviewed at this venue:


The Game Of Love And Chance | ★★★★ | July 2021
The Narcissist | ★★★ | July 2021
Rainer | ★★★★★ | October 2021
L’Incoronazione Di Poppea | ★★★★ | July 2022
The Apology | ★★★★ | September 2022
The Poltergeist | ★★½ | October 2022


Click here to read all our latest reviews