The Weather

Clare Pollard
Young Playwrights season
Royal Court Theatre Upstairs
(2004)

The second play in the Royal Court's Young Playwrights Season is a dark Caryl Churchill-influenced comedy about a family in crisis.

Their plight is mirrored in a pathetic fallacy that sees the weather and bombed Britain threatening to bring life to an end. Beside this, 15-year-old Ellie's problems seem more manageable.

Clare Pollard's writing can sound like performance poetry but is also extremely funny and insightful. She is well served by director Ramin Gray who maintains the pace with quick scene changes on Ultz's traverse stage and the inevitable Vivaldi Four Seasons.

Ellie, played with vigour by Nathalie Press mutilates herself and it is only at the denouement that we learn why. Mother (Helen Schlesinger in Absolutely Fabulous mode) is a drunken drama queen, while Jonathan Coy's dad has lost his job and his confidence. All in all, life is going down the pan.

The weather doesn't help offering hot and cold, wet and dry successively. There is even a mischievous poltergeist of the type that only inhabits houses containing teenaged girls.

Clare Pollard succeeds in combining a few good laughs with some interesting characterisation and a thoughtful plot. We will hear far more from her and it can only be a matter of time before she progresses to the bigger stage Downstairs.

This review originally appeared on Theatreworld in a slightly different version

"The Weather" plays until 16th October

Reviewer: Philip Fisher