A Clown Show About Rain review at Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh – ‘gently poignant’
There are galoshes, buckets and cuppas galore in A Clown Show About Rain, a gently poignant piece of physical theatre about the vicissitudes of living with depression. Josie Underwood, Cara Withers and Stella Kailides are a watchable trio of sailing clowns, haplessly battling the bluster and veering off course in yellow raincoats and woolly hats. Meanwhile, two khaki-clad lighthouse keepers (Cordelia Stevenson and Jack Wakely) find their angling outings threatened by the emotional stormy weather of sandwich envy.
Ellie Isherwood’s slick sound design comprises brief bursts of chirpy tunes, thunderous downpours and the strange incantations of the shipping forecast. There’s a telling moment in which Wakely attempts to copy Stevenson’s contented deep breaths of fresh air, the panic in the latter’s eyes belying the conventional wisdom that a bit of outdoor activity will keep depressive demons at bay.
Bouts of compulsive behaviour with buckets serve as a neat metaphor for anxiety, while rituals around tea and sympathy are also nicely articulated. All the cast do memorably mobile things with their faces, particularly Wakely in the sandwich scenes.
Some sequences (such as a jolly dance routine with mops) feel slightly overlong, but this sensitive advocation for kindness, compassion and connection resonates nonetheless.