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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

Come Rain or Come Shine (MTC) - 105 minutes without interval

Updated: Jun 26, 2022

Come Rain or Come Shine is a charming, funny and smart romantic musical comedy, which unfolds over a nearly three decades.

Set in London, 19-year-old Ray (Angus Grant) is a massive fan of Ray Charles, something he bonds over with fellow student Emily (Gillian Cosgriff).

Photos by Jeff Busby

Older style music is their collective passion, much to the chagrin of Ray’s best mate (and roommate) Charlie (Chris Ryan), who is adept at mocking them for it.

It is immediately clear that Ray is head over heels in love with Emily.

Ray and Charlie couldn’t be more different. Ray is sensitive, while Charlie is more of a “player”.

Despite that, Charlie “wins” the girl and Ray is his best man at the wedding.

Thereafter, Ray immediately takes off to teach English in Spain.

The action then shifts to 2005. Ray is now 47. He has a Spanish girlfriend (who we don’t see), who apparently drinks too much.

Charlie and Emily are convinced that Ray has settled for a life of mediocrity, when he could have had so much more.

Ray stills holds a torch for Emily, but has still never acted upon that impulse.

A flying visit back to London brings with it many surprises and shocks.

Charlie’s marriage is on shaky ground and he calls upon Ray for help.

To say things get totally out of control is an understatement.

Based on a short story by Kazuo Ishiguro, the script by Carolyn Burns is a cracker. It has twists aplenty, while never losing the human touch.

Come Rain or Come Shine straddles the sublime to the ridiculous. I was totally besotted.

The original music by Tim Finn, with lyrics from him and director Simon Phillips, is delightfully woven into the narrative, helping to move the story along.

That is not to overlook the classics (The Great American Songbook) that inform the total picture, for the combination is a sure-fire winner.

The performances – the facial expressions, the delivery of lines and the singing – are pure gold.

Angus Grant brilliantly captures the mood shifts required of Ray. The look in his eyes is priceless.

Chris Ryan brings a passionate desperation to his characterisation, while Gillian Cosgriff is big on joie de vivre and empathy.

The collective is special … and memorable.

The metamorphosising set – from “seen better days” student quarters to sharp, open and modern styling – is a triumph of consideration and craftsmanship. The set designer is Dale Ferguson.

The costuming by Sophie Woodward is evocative. How ‘70s student “chic” sits on Ray!

The work has been beautifully conceived and executed.

Moving between unspoken longing and high farce, Come Rain or Come Shine is a delicious piece of theatrical magic.

Complete with three piece-band, it is playing at Southbank Theatre, The Sumner until 23rd July, 2022.


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