Cold Rain opens with a familiar scene: three women, joining hands as they light candles and recite a simple love spell. A Macbethean trope, this spell acts as the inciting incident catapulting the Weekes sisters—Shirley, Carly and Lolly—into an unhappy future. A thoughtful story riddled with potential, Cold Rain’s scattered timeline leaves audiences laughing but wanting more.
The play opens with a non-linear plot that jumps from decade to decade in between scenes, a narrative tactic that consistently undermines the versatile cast and laden plot themes. Head creative Craig Houk may have been aiming to call attention to the well placed foreshadowing that occurs throughout many of the initial scenes. Unfortunately, guiding the audience back and forth between decades dizzied and distracted from the story itself.
closes July 28, 2018
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The real travesty here is that this tactic prevents the audience from truly absorbing the enthusiastic acting throughout the play. For those who could see past the sudden era changes, lead actress Desiree Chappelle as Carly gives the audience security with a consistent performance that helps us identify what family means in the context of this play. Other notable performers were Maura Claire Harford as Shirley, whose micro expressions were timed to comedic perfection, and Blake Gouhari whose character Joe is a voice of reason that rounds out the characters.
As the play moves forward (and backward), it is readily apparent that the plot centers on the difficulties within relationships, both romantic and familial. If you choose to go and see Cold Rain, you will develop theories and burning questions about the story. Few will be answered.
Cold Rain . Written and directed by Craig Houk . Featuring Elle Emerson, Maura Claire Harford, Desiree Chappelle, Grant Collins, Thomas Shuman, Will Low, Stephanie Jo Clark, Blake Gouhari, Lydia Kraniotis . Presented at Capital Fringe Festival 2018 . Reviewed by