When it Rains
Anthony Black's Bible-inspired hilarity fails to engage at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
This article is from 2014.
Based on the biblical story of Job, four lives are interwoven in this high-concept romcom. Writer/director Anthony Black has crafted something that treads old ground – the neuroses of middle-class people – using imaginative multimedia and meta-narrative (the cast send up respective predicaments and punchlines appear intermittently on-screen).
All are falling apart: Alan (Black), wife Sybil (Francine Deschepper) and sister Anna, the latter of whom is married to Louis (Marc Bendavid), a man so French he should be wearing a beret and toting a string of onions. Louis provides most of the comic relief amid scenes of tragedy, yet Bendavid plays him so cartoonishly, it becomes a distraction, with a ripe accent reminiscent of Eurotrash's Antoine de Caunes.
It certainly ticks all Fringe boxes: alcoholism; philosophy, spirituality, nudity and, in one entertaining segment, Louis performing Brel's 'Ne Me Quitte Pas' as an existentialist parody. Yet it's erratic, with uneven acting and a script that feels like a paler Magnolia. It's also hard to engage with the characters, especially the self-absorbed Anna, and the uneasy juxtaposition of earnest storytelling and high farce is jarring, despite Nick Bottomley's ingenious 3D design.
Pleasance Dome, 556 6550, until 23 Aug (not 11,18), £9.50–£10.50 (£8.50–£9.50).