Rain Man – October 2009

8/10

Adapted from the screenplay by Dan Gordon

Directed by Robin Herford

Venue: Richmond Theatre

Date: Wednesday 28th OCtober 2009

This was a very good adaptation of the screenplay and the performances, particularly of the two leads, were excellent. I cried. What more could I ask for?

The story included all the main points from the film though some scenes were dropped, such as the actual driving, and some were condensed or reported, so that for example the burning scene in the flat was mentioned at the court ordered review of Raymond’s situation. We still got the wheeling and dealing at the start, the delivery of the bad news to Charlie (not that his father’s dead, but that he just gets the car and the rose bushes) the kidnapping and attempted flight via, well, flight, the road trip and visit to Las Vegas and the final review meeting. All the way through both Neil Morrissey as Raymond and Oliver Chris as Charlie gave us perfectly judged performances. Raymond had lots of twitches and a tendency to look up and away, while Charlie was a seriously unpleasant bastard to start with but gradually softened as he discovered who Raymond really was to become just an average bastard by the end. And on the way Raymond gets some decent clothes, a dance with a beautiful woman, a kiss and a chance to drive his father’s car. He does miss out on a date with a dancing hooker, of course, but that’s probably for the best.

I don’t remember the film giving me such a strong sense that Charlie has actually done his brother some good by taking him out for a while, though as with the film we could see how Charlie benefited from his anger coming up against an immovable object. The adaptation had also been updated to include more recent plane crashes including one of the ones that hit the twin towers, which really got Raymond going. From memory, I think Qantas has now lost its perfect record on accidents so updating the dialogue is a double edged sword, but it still worked fine on stage.

The set was very flexible, with panels sliding on and off for walls and the ‘spare’ cast doing furniture removal duty. It all went very smoothly, and it was nice to see the understudies actually get something to do as extras in the public scenes. We both enjoyed this very much, and as I said before, I cried. Brilliant.

© 2009 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me

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