Theatre Review: September in the Rain - Theatre Royal, Glasgow ✭✭✭


Review by Siobhan Brennan

Many people have fond memories of summer holidays in Blackpool, and for them September in the Rain will provide a welcome and charming trip down memory lane.  We join husband and wife Jack and Liz, an elderly couple about to embark on what may be their last holiday to the seaside resort.  As they reminisce about the many trips they’ve made in the past we are transported back in time to join them on one of their first holidays in the early years of their marriage.

John Thomson and Claire Sweeney have great chemistry and their portrayal of your typical bickering married couple is both amusing and relatable.  Being the only two cast members they are able to impressively phase between playing the lead roles and the minor parts of various characters they encounter on their trip.  

The set is simple with a backdrop of the famous Blackpool Tower dominating the stage and the two leads manage to create the illusion of a car, boarding house bedroom and restaurant simply with the use of two wooden chairs. Lighting plays a very important part in this production using clever techniques along with minor costume alterations to represent shifts in time.

There’s no shortage of plays about marriage, but what makes September in the Rain stand out is the fact that there is no dramatic twists or shock endings. This is just a truthful portrayal of a very real couple and the little disagreements that are part of their daily life.  Everybody knows a Jack and Liz, including writer John Godber who based a lot of this story around his own grandparents and his memories growing up.  Annual summer holidays to Blackpool may be a thing of the past now but thankfully couples like this are not.

September in the Rain is at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow until 30th November