Alex & Evie and the Forever Falling Rain takes you on a paper boat ride past childhood fears to a destination filled with sunshine, friendship and everything that’s good. Written by Sophie Minassale and co-produced by Amber Kitney from every other theatre company, this family friendly story will leave you feeling mightily refreshed and ready to take on the world.
By Eleanor Mulder
The show is about a 9-year-old girl called Evie who’s just moved to a place where it always rains. Evie is fed up, because the constant rain means her old friends won’t come to her birthday party, and so, she stays inside with her cat, Amadazeus, where its safe and sulky and always dry. That is until, one day, she answers the door to 10-year-old Alex and her world is turned upside down. Alex loves the rain and playing outside, but he agrees to help Evie on her quest to stop the rain, mostly because he loves birthday parties and going on big adventures. They set off — armed with sticky tape, milo and colander helmets — on a journey of bravery and friendship.
Upon arrival at the theatre, the gloomy blue stage lighting and sound of pouring rain sets a stormy and sombre atmosphere for the audience. Evie sits the other side of a window to us, looking sad and glum and lonely. She hugs her elephant soft toy and stares out into the crowd. It’s a cheerless world until Alex bursts onto the stage with his bright blue ball and eye-catching duck socks, and when he chats away to us, we feel like we’ve made a new friend.
Alex exits the stage, and it feels empty but only for a moment. He’s soon replaced with a talking cat (yes, a talking cat!) who makes us laugh with her eerily lifelike feline poses and energetic story telling. It’s the cat who introduces the themes, and it’s the cat who drives the tension in the story. The cat is more than just a cat, it seems, and she does her job well and to much amusement from the crowd.
This show has a wonderful message, subtly yet not subversively spoken. It holds a call to face your fears — with the help of friends around you — and it speaks of sunshine after rain. As a parent, it’s a positive message that complements my own philosophy for raising resilient children; a message that is good to be reminded of at uncertain times like these.
What I like most about this production are the colourful main characters. On the surface, Alex is everything that Evie isn’t. He loves the rain while Evie hates it. He is childlike, chock full of positivity and embraces new adventures with relish. Evie on the other hand is cautious, pessimistic and moody. Once their friendship starts to form, however, it becomes clear that both characters share the same fear of being alone. They approach that fear in different ways, but it’s only when they come together that it’s finally faced and conquered.
The two main actors perfectly capture the child’s point of view, drawing you into their wide-eyed story so completely that you feel — first hand — their fear, their wonder and joy, and finally, their ultimate triumph. So much so, in fact, that even when there’s a minor mistake with the sound effects about half way through the show, it doesn’t matter.
The show is cleverly crafted with an inside set, symbolising safety but with no fulfilment, and an outside set, full of danger yet a place where the good things happen. The use of lighting is effective in evoking emotion, and the shadow play on the curtains adds a special touch. Even the puppets, which usually make me cringe, are skilfully handled and responsible for some truly comic moments. I also love the imagery of the paper boat, so fragile and playful on its journey, just like a child.
A special moment for me is near the end of the show when the characters celebrate their happy ending. My daughter is so absorbed in the story, I hear her little murmurs of agreement and notice a few nods of her head. It’s very touching. The show ends with warm light and a sense of hope. And I’m positive my family feels it too.
Final performance 29th January – Book your tickets here and don’t miss out!