Three Days of Rain – Mill Theatre – Review by Paddy McGovern
Disappear Here’s production of Three Days of Rain at Mill Theatre Dundrum
Richard Greenberg’s play Three Days of Rain opens with the not very original device of people coming together for the reading of a will. A journal is found which may – or may not – throw light on past events that remain a mystery to the children; not an original device either. However, there is nothing hackneyed about the play from there to the last line. Instead we are drawn into a maze of surprises, revised judgements, abandoned theories, twists and turns of plot and the intriguing relationships between the deceased’s two children, Walker and his sister, Nan, and Pip, the son of Theo, their late father’s partner in their prestigious Manhattan architectural practice. And this is just Act l. The entanglements of their parents’ relationships – both professional and personal – form the core of Act ll, taking us back thirty years to the 1960’s, to the lives of the parents, Ned, Lina and Theo, parts that are played by the three actors who played their children in Act l. No mean challenge for three young actors and their director, Mark McAuley, and one to which they rise to with considerable success.
Walker, obsessed by the relationship between his father and Theo, returns to the journal repeatedly to try to unlock the truth. He has always wanted to own the famous house attributed to his father’s architecture. Now, he suspects that his father lacked real talent and may, in fact, have taken credit for Theo’s genius after the latter’s untimely death. This suspicion is enough to make Walker abandon his ambition to own the house. In Act l Walker describes a visit to his father’s grave and comments laconically that the dead man was as silent in death as in life. Act ll will reveal the real explanation for his taciturn manner: a deep-rooted shyness leading to – or perhaps stemming from – a severe stammer. It is just one of many impressions and conclusions that have to be reversed as the three characters inch towards a fuller understanding of their parents’ lives, not least which of the two men was actually responsible for the famous house.
If performances are a little uneven, this is perhaps due to one outstanding performance – or rather two performances by the same actor, Fiach Kunz – rather than to shortcomings by the other actors. Kunz inhabits both performances completely. He has tremendous stage presence, the accent accurate and consistent throughout, individuates the roles of father and son so convincingly that he is scarcely recognisable as the same actor in Act l and Act ll. He is unquestionably a young actor to watch. Lisa Tyrrell, as Nan and Lina, settled in well after a slightly uneasy start but had some difficulty in vocal projection in Act l as the daughter. Act ll saw her in very different mode, vocally much stronger, even if her interpretation veered dangerously close to an amalgam of Tennessee Williams heroines, in movement and gesture as well as inflexion. As Walker/Ned, Michael McLaughlin was affecting especially in Act ll, dealing well with the demands of a difficult part, compounded by the production of a speech impediment even in moments of emotional outbursts.
Direction by Mark McAuley was just a little static at times but delivers a solid production of a fine play well worth seeing if it comes your way as part of the company’s national tour.
‘Three Days of Rain’ stars Michael McLaughlin, Lisa Tyrrell and Fiach Kunz, and is directed by Mark McAuley.