What is the right subject or source for a new work? What motivates the makings of a musical? A film, a book, a collection of poems about felines?

When one feels a duty to return to the source not only to write a credible review but to genuinely extrapolate WHY, it’s a mercy indeed to find the base material is a quick read over something by Victor Hugo.

Come Rain or Come Shine is a faithful adaptation of a rather boring short story by Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro about a group of 3 not particularly nice or interesting individuals and an awful lot more about a purple notebook accidently left on a kitchen table.

There is still, and absolutely should be, a stage and an audience for stories about middle class folks but to pour some of our most creative talent and scarce arts funding into a pretty ordinary narrative about grappling with very little to be grappling about feels painful and indulgent. The arbiter of what should and should not make it to stage is clearly in the hands of very few and this expensively staged production felt as excessive as its story is thin, however, watching Dale Ferguson's fantastic set morph from one home and decade into another was a genuine highlight.

Gillian Cosgriff, Angus Grant and Chris Ryan are all really good, with lovely voices, great commitment to keeping things buoyant and some great comic timing in the absence of very much comedy. The show’s musical numbers have been penned by the vastly talented Tim Finn but in that his music is competing with the very music the narrative reveres, the ‘Great American Songbook’; we’re forced to eat a perfectly tasty ready meal in a 5-star establishment.

Once again; getting anything to stage is an absolute miracle requiring a dedication far greater than these words could or should ever dismantle. Sadly though, the incredible credentials of the creatives behind this work, and indeed the talent within it, should result in something very different than described in this review which was as uncomfortable and as disappointing to write as the show was to watch.

Event details

Melbourne Theatre Company presents
Come Rain or Come Shine
book Carolyn Burns | lyrics Tim Finn & Simon Phillips | music Tim Finn  based on the story by Kazuo Ishiguro

Director Simon Phillips

Venue: The Sumner | Southbank Theatre VIC
Dates: 20 June – 23 July 2022
Bookings: mtc.com.au

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