The Rainbow Connection
24:7 Theatre Festival
New Century House, Manchester
Joanne Sherryden's touching comedy is about a close relationship between a gay man and a loud young woman; perhaps not totally original as a situation—Jonathan Harvey has done it both on stage and on TV—but Sherryden has her own take on it.
Joe is a gay man in the top floor flat who is recovering from a serious car accident and appears to be agoraphobic. Shelly from downstairs is having a serious relationship with a married man whom she believes will soon leave his wife for her, but Joe can hear the arguments between them through his floor. They form a close bond through which they try to help one another, but neither responds well to being helped.
Sherryden's script is lively and witty with a couple of nicely-drawn characters and some great one-liners. The later parts start to get a bit bogged down with long, serious speeches and over-wordy conversations, but there is a nice, if not totally unexpected, twist and a neat ending.
Danielle Henry is excellent as Shelly, with a completely believable and likeable character. Anthony Crank certainly nails the tormented but witty character of Joe, but there are moments that don't quite convince or when the comic delivery doesn't quite work as well as it could.
All-in-all though The Rainbow Connection is a very entertaining and funny piece of writing that is well-performed and a very promising first play to see at this year's 24:7 Theatre Festival.
Running to to 28 July 2011
Reviewer: David Chadderton