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100% Chance of Rain

“Ambitious and affecting piece exploring mental health”

Nobody could accuse Chickenshed of lacking ambition or shying away from difficult, complex issues. And 100% Chance of Rain is a perfect example of the inclusive north London theatre’s shoot-for-the-moon approach.

It focuses on mental health and emotional well-being, with seven ‘chapters’ each looking at specific areas, including self-harm, the impact of stigmas around single parents, suicide and the emotional after-effects of moving out of the parental home.

All this is performed through a combination of songs, sketches and interpretive dance by a vast cast of Chickenshed’s young performers.

In just one of many highly affecting scenes, dancers flood the stage, each carrying a pair of shoes they lay out while numbers in the hundreds and thousands are read out pertaining to separate age groups, from children to those over 90. As the shoes remain on the stage, a projection reveals that these are the recorded numbers of people who killed themselves in 2017.

Lou Stein’s production is a sensitively handled examination of what is of course extremely tough, often harrowing, subject matter. The vignettes are interlinked by the figure of Liz Abulafia (Belinda McGuirk), a fictitious arts therapist who, with her head band, loose cardie and beady necklace, is almost a caricature of how one imagines Jacob Rees-Mogg pictures Guardian readers.

Like Abulafia, who seeks to explore how creativity can benefit mental health, the production is both well-intentioned and earnest. It could have benefited with a tighter focus; the broad scope leaves little space for detail. But this is a subject that evades easy answers, which Chickenshed commendably acknowledges in this committed and laudable endeavour.

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Production Details
Production name100% Chance of Rain
StartsMarch 7, 2019
EndsMarch 30, 2019
Running time2hrs
CreatorLou Stein
ComposerDave Carey
DirectorLou Stein
Musical directorDave Carey
Set designerSebastian Gonzalez
Costume designerEmma Gale
Lighting designerAndrew Caddies
Sound designerPhil Haines
CastA Cast Of Hundreds Of Young Performers, Belinda Mcguirk
TechnicalAndrew Caddies
Production managerZeeta Jacobs
Stage managerOttilie Kark
VerdictAmbitious, impressively marshalled and performed exploration of mental health and emotional well-being
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