Theatre | I hope it’s not raining in London | Preview

Different Casts: Actors Cassie Hamilton, front, with Nicholas Thoroughgood, Jack Twelvetree, and Taylor Reece.
Different Casts: Actors Cassie Hamilton, front, with Nicholas Thoroughgood, Jack Twelvetree, and Taylor Reece.

WHEN Nicholas Thoroughgood and a relative were driving back from Sydney a few years ago, rain began flooding down.

The relative nervously said “I hope it’s not raining in Newcastle”.

Nicholas put that expression at the back of his mind as a possible title for a play. And he has now written one, I hope it’s not raining in London, that will premiere at a Newcastle youth theatre company’s venue, Tantrum Studio, in Merewether, from July 18 to 21.

The play is being staged by Bearfoot Theatre, a company which stages new plays by young writers. It’s an offshoot of Eclectic Productions, which was founded in 2015 to offer creative opportunities for young adult performers in Newcastle.

Nicholas Thoroughgood, who is 18, has been engaged in theatre since early childhood, largely at Young People’s Theatre where he has acted and directed.

He won a CONDA Award in 2016 for Excellence by a Male Actor Under 18 for his performance as a troubled final year schoolboy in The History Boys, which was staged by Lindsay Streets Players in association with YPT. And in 2017 he was a member of a Hunter School of the Performing Arts HSC graduating team who received NSW honourable mention for a play they developed as part of their HSC work.

He is about to begin an acting course at a new Melbourne training academy.

He said that I hope it’s not raining in London shows two people in a room and how they interact. One has been there a long time and the other, who has just arrived, wakes up from a sleep in the opening moments.

The people who come to the room initially have no memories of their past lives.

But, as they talk, things begin coming back to them.

Nicholas notes that the characters have no specific gender. They are named in the script as One and The Other. And it’s up to the staging team to decide how they want to present them.

He also observes that there is a lot of humour in the hour-long tale, as the pair try to lighten their intensity with jokes.

Director Riley McLean said the play is being staged with four actors, two male – Jack Twelvetree and Nicholas Thoroughgood – and two female – Cassie Hamilton and Taylor Reece – in different casts as the two characters.

Some sessions have two people of the same sex, and others one of each.

The show has performances daily at 2pm and 7pm from Wednesday, July 18, to Saturday, July 21.

Tantrum Studio is at 101 City Road, Merewether, near the Glebe Road traffic lights.

Tickets, $28, concession $25, can be bought through trybooking.com, with that website noting the actors in each performance.   

Theatre Reviews

Pinocchio. Young People’s Theatre, at its Hamilton venue. Ends August 18

YPT co-founder William Ford’s adaptation of the classic story about a marionette who eventually becomes a real boy has been a hit with children and adults for 60 years and watching this production it is easy to see why. It’s fast-moving, with bright songs by Glenda Price, and it has many colourful characters, including a Blue Fairy who brings toymaker Gepetto’s child-like creation to life, a caring green cricket, Claudius, that she appoints to be Pinocchio’s guardian, a villainous fox called Ignatius, his offsider cat, Hiccup, and settings such as the inside of an undersea whale. The staging team have done an excellent job in making this a lively and engaging show, with Pinocchio’s increasingly longer nose when he repeatedly doesn’t tell the truth making the laughter increasingly louder. 

Pete the Sheep. Upstage Youth Theatre, at Tocal Homestead, Tocal. Ends Friday.

THIS adaptation of the popular children’s picture book about a sheep who persuades a young new shearer to open a baa-baa (whoops! barber) shop and give sheep elegant haircuts, much to the ire of traditional shearers, is appropriately being staged in a 19th century shearing shed, adding to its engaging nature for adults and children. There are several lively songs, and the shearers are an interesting mix, including a stern Ratso (Andrew Coates), a demanding Big Bob (Karen Lantry), their silent offsider Bungo (Clarence Lawrence), and nervous newcomer Shaun (Cameron Elkin). The sheep and sheepdogs amusingly begin talking when their keepers are absent, but Shaun’s Pete (played alternatively by Kristian Cousins and Antoinette Harris-Payne) is adept at giving amusing advice to the other woolly animals, such as “Don’t act sheepish.”