Come Rain or Come Shine: a theatre review by Alex First

June 30, 2022 by Alex First
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Come Rain or Come Shine is a charming, funny and smart romantic musical comedy, which unfolds over nearly three decades.

Photo: Jeff Busby

Set in London, 19-year-old Ray (Angus Grant) is a massive fan of Ray Charles, something he bonds over with fellow student Emily (Gillian Cosgriff).

Older-style music is their collective passion, much to the chagrin of Ray’s best mate (and roommate) Charlie (Chris Ryan), who is adept at mocking them for it.

It is immediately clear that Ray is head over heels in love with Emily, but when he doesn’t get the girl there are consequences that are still being felt in 2005.

To say things get totally out of control is an understatement.

Based on a short story by Kazuo Ishiguro, the script by Carolyn Burns is a cracker. It has twists aplenty, while never losing the human touch.

Come Rain or Come Shine straddles the sublime to the ridiculous. I was totally besotted.

The original music by Tim Finn, with lyrics from him and director Simon Phillips, is delightfully woven into the narrative, helping to move the story along.

That is not to overlook the classics (The Great American Songbook) that inform the total picture, for the combination is a sure-fire winner.

The performances – the facial expressions, the delivery of lines and the singing – are pure gold.

Angus Grant brilliantly captures the mood shifts required of Ray. The look in his eyes is priceless.

Chris Ryan brings passionate desperation to his characterisation, while Gillian Cosgriff is big on joie de vivre and empathy.

Their combination is special … and memorable.

The metamorphosising set – from “seen better days” student quarters to sharp, open and modern styling – is a triumph of consideration and craftsmanship. The set designer is Dale Ferguson.

The costuming by Sophie Woodward is evocative. How ‘70s student “chic” sits on Ray!

The work has been beautifully conceived and executed.

Moving between unspoken longing and high farce, Come Rain or Come Shine is a delicious piece of theatrical magic.

Complete with three piece-band, it is playing in Melbourne at Southbank Theatre, The Sumner until 23rd July, 2022.

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