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Review: The Wind and The Rain (Finborough Theatre)

Review by Raphael Kohn

With possibly the most interesting programming structure in all of London, the Finborough Theatre is London’s smallest producing theatre, which prides itself on putting on plays that have not been seen in London in the past 25 years. Their latest outing, Merton Hodge’s The Wind and The Rain, is no different, having had an 80-year absence from London’s professional stages since its West End debut, lasting over 1000 performances and subsequently being produced on Broadway and around the world. With quite a tough act to follow, would this production be able to live up to its expectations?

Set in 1933, The Wind And The Rain follows Charles Tritton as he arrives in Edinburgh to begin his medical studies. Told through snapshots of conversations, all taking place in his boarding house where he resides during his studies, The Wind And The Rain is a cleverly-told portrait of medical studies in the 20th century, with the plot being clear and engrossing despite us only seeing brief moments in Tritton’s life. It’s certainly a pleasure to see such a story being told on London’s stages again.


Yet I do have one niggle with it – and one I will share now to get it out the way. For all that is interesting in the writing and plot – and there is a lot – it seems a shame to me that a production that heavily features suggestions of the writer’s (and by extension main character’s) bisexuality in its promotional material seems to actually feature very little in the play itself. Little more than a slight glance between characters and euphemistic exchanges, the play spends almost no time at all actually addressing this matter, and in a 2023 production that could have taken so much from the cues in the text to explore this more deeply. Especially given how prominent this theme is in the promotional material, it seems a shame to me to see this subject left largely unaddressed in the actual production itself.

But as a whole, the production is interesting enough. Never too pacy nor slow, Geoffrey Beevers’ direction places us firmly in the period and engrosses us into the setting well, on Carla Evans’ welcoming and detailed set. Lead by Joe Pitts in a standout role as Tritton, the cast are a great ensemble and play off each other well. Pitts, entering first with wide-eyed optimism to his studies (as a current medical student, I certainly saw a lot of myself there!) and gradually maturing through his degree, is an excellent lead, never being too ‘perfect’ of a student or person as a whole, but remaining relatable and likeable throughout.


Pitts’ Tritton is grounded by the excellent David Furlong as Dr Paul Duhamel, a qualified doctor completing a fellowship in Edinburgh who lives in the same boarding house. With a knowing smile and trustworthy demeanour, Furlong’s Duhamel is a brilliant guide to Tritton. This is never more important than when he plays off Mark Lawrence’s Gilbert Raymond, the antithesis of a good student, who is a chronic exam-failer and under-studier. The two of them – almost two vices between which Tritton aims to fall – make an excellent comparative background for Tritton’s journey.

Completing the cast are Harvey Cole as John Williams (no, not the one who wrote the music to Star Wars), a medical student who comes and goes but generally studies well, Jenny Lee’s wise and knowing Mrs McFie, the owner of the boarding house, as well as Helen Reuben and Naomi Preston-Low’s Jill and Anne (respectively), Tritton’s two lovers who are engaging, if underdeveloped, characters. What is lacking in text for the two of them is more than made up for by their performances, each giving rounded portrayals to enhance the storytelling.


I have to say, it is an absolute joy to see medical stories told on stage in London. So much of what one sees in The Wind and The Rain still holds so true about the types of people who go into medical school today in 2023, and there’s an uncomfortable realisation I came to about how little has changed since it premiered so many years ago (although, of course, much has changed as well). Elevated by its performers, it’s an interesting revival of Merton Hodge’s work, with an acute relevance to the modern day.

⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Wind and The Rain plays at the Finborough theatre until 5 August 2023. Tickets are available from https://finboroughtheatre.co.uk/production/the-wind-and-the-rain/


Photo by Mark Senior

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