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September in the Rain at Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Published by: Cameron Lowe on 27th Nov 2013 | View all blogs by Cameron Lowe

Review by Cameron Lowe

September in the Rain

September in the Rain by Olivier Award winning writer, John Godber, is a gentle nostalgic situation comedy which is nicely performed by the talented headline cast.

Claire Sweeney and John Thomson seem to take the demands of this character driven two-hander in their stride and deliver a very pleasing performance.

We meet Liz and Jack, a ‘happily’ married elderly couple on their annual holiday to Blackpool.  Their story is told through flashback as their trips to Blackpool over the years reveal the highs and lows as well as the strains on their long relationship.

The flashbacks reveal, for me, a window into an earlier time.  Jack’s behaviour in his younger incarnation, in particular, reflects the morals and behavioural norms of a bygone era and these seem like worlds away from those of today. 

Jack seems like a decent, hardworking sort who looks after his family through tough times.  But, he often delivers verbal abuse in public as well as behind closed doors and is openly aggressive towards his wife and others.  This is quite shocking today while relatively commonplace in days gone by.

Liz seems to take most of this in her stride and even seems to enjoy their frequent arguments … perhaps better than not talking at all.

Liz and Jack (Claire Sweeney and John Thomson)

The situation lends itself to plenty of observational comedy on the topics of marriage, family and travel.  Much of the dialogue is light hearted banter and pokes fun at the battle of the sexes.

On the production side the set by Pip Leckenby is static and simple being on Blackpool’s promenade.  Lighting designed by Matt Eagland is similarly straight forward but very effective in conveying the rapidly changing weather patterns of the British seaside holiday.  Some flashbacks are highlighted in special light boxes with most props simply mimed.  All this proves to be surprisingly effective with the quality performances on stage.

Claire Sweeney and John Thomson are completely convincing as Liz and Jack (plus various ancillary characters in flashback).  They are able to gain or lose 50 years through physicality and voice control as simply as you or I could don a coat and hat.  Both actors make the most of the gently amusing material bringing the characters to life and winning empathy and understanding from the audience from the first scene.

September in the Rain is well worth the ticket price, particularly for nostalgia fans or any budding actors eager to learn a lesson or two!


Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Monday 25 - Saturday 30 November            

Mon – Sat eves 7.30pm

Thu & Sat mats 2.30pm

Tickets: £10 - £25

0844 871 7648 (bkg fee)



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