Writer and Director: Elan Butler
Why this play about a crappy reality TV star is called A little rain in Monaco is a gamble, and those expecting a classy historical drama set on the French Riviera will be bitterly disappointed. Another quirk is the sexually explicit songs Sober Riot Theater has chosen to play as the audience takes their seats, as these risqué numbers have no connection with the rather self-indulgent story to come.
Klaus is known as on Big Brothera season of hollyoaks, and especially because you are someone’s friend. His new TV show is about to air, but after he hits this morning Phillip Schofield in the face, Klaus in danger of being cancelled. Worried and superficial, Klaus is not a very nice character and looks down on his friend Simon who loyally – and stupidly – works to make their relationship a success. Simon is indeed so devoted that in a fit of jealousy he cuts off Klaus’ finger. The rest of A little rain in Monaco is equally unlikely.
Elan Butler’s play oscillates between farce and social commentary, but A little rain in Monaco is no Ortonesque romp for the digital age. Indeed, it isn’t until the arrival of Klaus’ old school friends that Butler’s play becomes more recognizable as a comedy. Billy and Conor have come to take Klaus to a club in some seedy nightclub where people have disappeared without a trace. Klaus agrees, even though it’s been less than 24 hours since his finger was chopped off. The boys are about to leave, but then Klaus’ agent comes with news.
Butler’s play has two completely different casts, but on Thursday, Gabriel Joranus as Billy and Bradley Luckett as Conor are the best of the evening. Their sense of being really old friends with their own crazy routines works well, and both convey vulnerability when needed. The game drops when they are off the stage. Fraser Kelsey also does a good job making Simon’s razor-sharp skills almost believable.
But the most difficult task is that of Fred Thomas playing Klaus, a reprehensible poseur who does yoga poses while his friend cooks dinner. Klaus’s refusal to apologize for any wrong he may have done soon becomes tiresome, but it is painfully overwritten, right down to his whiny monologue in the last act. “This has all been so boring,” Klaus suspects. Rather.
It’s not clear if Butler wants us to feel sorry for Klaus and see him as a victim of celebrity culture and social media, but Thomas only shows us the bad side of his character. Perhaps the other actor who plays Klaus is able to give a more sympathetic character, but it’s questionable given Butler’s script and lack of any redeeming qualities.
Runs until May 14, 2022