A Little Rain in Monaco – The Pleasance. London

Reviewer: Richard Maguire

Writer and Director: Elan Butler

Why this play about a feckless reality TV star is called A Little Rain in Monaco is anyone’s guess, and those expecting a classy period drama set on the French Riviera will be bitterly disappointed. Another oddity is the sexually explicit songs that Sober Riot Theatre has chosen to play as the audience takes its seats, as these risqué numbers bear no relation to the rather self-indulgent story that is to come.

Klaus is famous for being on Big Brother, a season of Hollyoaks, and most importantly, for being someone’s boyfriend. His new TV show is about to air, but after he punches This Morning’s Phillip Schofield in the face, Klaus is in danger of being cancelled. Klaus, jaded and shallow, is not a very nice character and looks down upon his boyfriend Simon who is loyally – and stupidly – committed to making their relationship a success. Indeed, Simon is so committed that he chops off Klaus’s finger in a fit of jealousy. The rest of A Little Rain in Monaco is just as improbable.

Elan Butler’s play wavers between farce and social commentary, but A Little Rain in Monaco is no Ortonesque romp for the digital age. Indeed, it’s not really until the arrival of Klaus’ old school friends that Butler’s play becomes more recognisable as a comedy. Billy and Conor have come to take Klaus out clubbing in some dodgy nightclub where people have disappeared without a trace. Klaus agrees, even though it’s been less than 24 hours since his finger was hacked off. The boys are about to leave but then Klaus’ agent arrives with some news.

Butler’s play has two completely different casts, but on Thursday Gabriel Joranus as Billy and Bradley Luckett as Conor are the best things about the evening. Their sense of being really old friends with their own silly routines works well, and both convey vulnerability when needed. The play dips whenever they are off the stage. Also putting in good work is Fraser Kelsey almost making Simon’s knife-cutting skills believable.

But the hardest task is that of Fred Thomas who plays Klaus, a reprehensible poseur who does yoga poses as his boyfriend cooks dinner. Klaus’s refusal to apologise for any wrong he may have done becomes wearying very quickly but it’s excruciatingly overplayed, right up to his whiney monologue in the final act. ‘This has all been as boring as fuck,’ Klaus surmises. Quite.

It’s not clear whether Butler wants us to pity 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 playing Klaus is able to provide a more sympathetic character, but it’s doubtful given Butler’s script and the lack of any redeeming qualities.

Runs until 14 May 2022

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The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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