When the Rain Stops Falling, Tron, Glasgow

Keith Bruce

three stars

Australian playwright Andrew Bovell's generational drama, which slowly reveals a painful family saga over the better part of a century, straddles the globe and deals with the possible impact of global warming, is nothing if not ambitious, and Katherine Nesbitt's Makeshift Broadcast company is similarly bold in staging it in a "poor theatre" style in the Tron's Changing House studio.

Bovell is best known as a screenwriter (Strictly Ballroom, Lantana) and When the Rain Stops Falling is certainly cinematic, and might make a fine film, but Nesbitt and her company concentrate on the dark secret at the heart of the story that takes the Law family from London to Australia to encounter the last of the Yorks and begin a relationship that uncovers a well-hidden truth.

Bovell handles this material with consummate skill, and the deliberate pace of the production matches his slow reveal, but the denouement, guessable from at least early in the second act, is ladled on a little thick in the text, which the staging does little to alleviate. The umbrella props, indicating the switching location of scenes as well as standing in for gravestone and campfire, also threaten to become a laboured device alongside a script already reliant on repetition for effect, and where the rain/climate change aspect of the story - central to the company's environmental agenda - is the most underplayed element.

What that leaves is still a compelling tale of the sins of the father - specifically an irresistible sexual attraction to young boys - being visited on future generations, and the metaphor with a world going to hell in handcart is the play's boldest stroke.