King’s Theatre: Rain Man

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Based on the Oscar winning film which famously starred Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman, Bill Kenwright’s inaugural Classic Screen to Stage Theatre Company production of Rain Man is a marvel.

Starring Mathew Horne, best known as Gavin in the award winning BAFTA winning comedy series Gavin and Stacey, andEd Speleers, this 80’s classic tells the story of Charlie Babbit, a wannabe Yuppie, who discovers that his late Father left his considerable wealth to his hitherto secret son, Raymond – the profoundly autistic brother Charlie never knew.  The story unfolds as the brothers get to know each other, with moments which are both humorous and heart wrenching throughout.

Speleers portrayal of Charlie – the narcissistic poser turned devoted brother is impressive, portraying in an understated but powerful way the continuum of his relationship with Raymond; from his exploitative, bordering on cruel, impatience at the beginning- to a very touching moment when he teaches his elder brother to dance towards the end of the play.  Horne’s Raymond is subtly physical, and incredibly poignant – using the character’s ticks and repetitive phrases to add a visible, emotive depth alongside dialogue.  Horne’s commitment to portraying Raymond’s unique persona is clear throughout.  The two leads make an excellent pairing, Speleers’s buoyant Charlie, full of nervous and occasionally hostile energy balanced perfectly alongside Horne’s Raymond- slow, reserved and passive.

The script has moments of perfectly delivered comedy, alongside moving depictions of Raymond struggling to understand the world he finds himself in.  The clever set design is complimented by hits from the 1980s blaring out during scene changes, which adds a welcome energy to the performance.

This was a fantastic production – balancing the nostalgic and poignant with humour perfectly.

Runs until 6th October 2018

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