‘After The Rain’ is a satirical post-apocalyptic tale set 200 years after the Great Rain of 1974 which destroyed civilisation. The Lecturer uses his students to re-enact an event that took place during the deluge. Two newcomers, a young man and woman, arrive on a raft of survivors. Gradually they are introduced to the rituals of this strange community, and their leader Arthur, who has delusions of godhood. Others too seem to believe in his ‘powers’ but slowly he comes to think that rather than being divine himself, he was only possessed by God, and he must now be sacrificed… An unconventional adaptation of Bowen’s own 1958 book of the same name.
Cast Details: (Incomplete, further information required)
Reviewed by G.M.P. For The Croydon Advertiser
Misty moral in the Flood tides
Among the most venturous of local drama groups, Theatre Workshop Coulsdon, continues to be particularly enterprising in its choice of play. Last week’s “After the Rain,” by John Bowen, was no exception.
It makes an original and thought-provoking comment on civilisations, past and present, and on the clash between individualist and community in the form of a parable about a second Great Flood, dated 1974.
Scenes from the lives of a raftful of survivors are presented, Marat-Sade fashion by supposed hypnotised criminal deviationists, 200 years later, for the enlightenment of their generation.
Where TWC are deficient is in their lack of polish in presentation.
If they judge such a play to be worthy of public show then they owe it to their audience to develop elementary stage skills to communicate the ideas and situations fully.
At present they aren’t doing this. By choosing a producer who is one of them, and at the same point of technical development, they do, no doubt, have the fun of joint exploration, but they aren’t getting the best out of their material.
Indeed the clash of characters which is a key feature of Bowen’s play was inadequately realised because vocally they were so limited and so restricted in their ability to move naturally and meaningfully inside a personality alien to their own.
The significances of this play only fitfully reached us – gabbled lines, monotonously delivered shuffling movement, and scenes that trailed off instead of ending, robbed the satire of much of its bite.
Promising work was done, notably by Stephen Airey, Lesley Quin, Diana Hewett and Christopher Argles (though they are not excluded from the critical remarks I’ve made).
Nevertheless, despite some good economic staging and some potentially effective moments, comic and serious, the overall impression was limp instead of exhilarating.