Photography by Tristan Sayers with permission for Varsity

Content Note: brief mention of homophobia and misogyny 

Cancel culture has been a ubiquitous phrase in the last few years. The masses have taken sides vilifying and defending those cancelled. A Little Rain in Monaco gives some insight in to what it is to be cancelled. And rather than some plea for sympathy it presents a throughly unlikable character, that the audience is hesitant to defend. Klaus Peterson is an actor famous from his role on Hollyoaks, who becomes cancelled after he punches Phillip Schofield in the face, and claims to have no remorse for his actions.

“You don’t have to be sorry, you just have to cry”

Elan Butler imparts an almost screwball-comedy pace, as the people in Klaus’s life both enable and attempt to help Klaus. His new fling, Simon, and demanding agent, Cece, attempt to ground him, whilst childhood best friends, Conor and Billy, feed off the sex, drugs and rock roll lifestyle. “You don’t have to be sorry, you just have to cry” his agent Cece informs after he tells her he doesn’t want to apologize for actions on camera. In a play with no one to really root for, you too are lost in the endless cycle of misery and shallowness. Had the play gone on longer, and not had as many lively moments, it would’ve been easy to be frustrated by the slow development. But the pacing and dialogue of A Little Rain in Monaco provides constant entertainment, and at precisely the right moments, hints of redemption.

It is also exceptionally witty. The play doesn’t sink with the gravity of its subject matter; it finds moments of levity without minimising the tragic or frustrating parts of the story. It strikes a good balance, under its avalanche of knowing jokes, the play has serious matters on its mind, including the undercurrent of homophobia and misogyny that can suffuse the relationship between straight women and gay men. Occasionally, however, Butler doesn’t have the lightest touch with the production’s comedy and fails to give the more stirring scenes the extra beat they require before things move along.

“Under its avalanche of knowing jokes, the play has serious matters on its mind”

The staging was minimal which leant more weight to dialogue and performance. In a play that was ultimately a character study anything else would’ve been distracting. The play does not leave the scene of Klaus’s living room, honing the theme that this his world and everyone else, audience included, are merely visitors. At times this meant that the characters lacked context, and the supporting characters could’ve been used as more than just character’s orbiting around Klaus. One unfortunate limitation was the lack of a bigger arc for the play’s only female character, but regardless Anna Tammela provided a stunningly no nonsense performance as Klaus’s agent Cece.


Mountain View

Green The economics of the stage: Enron

We gradually realise that Klaus’s friendship with childhood friends Connor and Billy is heavy with barely contained resentment. The kind of friends that can be vicious, mocking one another with the targeted hits of a loved one who knows where to stick the knife. Despite the spotlight being focused on Klaus, it is the ensemble that truly translate the themes that A Little Rain in Monaco is trying to bring across. The play is about the performances people put on for themselves, their friends, family and potential loved ones, as well as the identities they hide behind.

A Little Rain in Monaco is playing at the Pleasance in London 14th May 2022 7:30pm