By N. Richard Nash
Directed by Rob Anderson
Starring Jennifer Christa Palmer, Don Fowler
Mad Cow Theatre, Orlando, FL</strong>
A drought has driven the Curry clan to the brink of disaster. After a month with no rain and years without any love, everyone is frazzled. Daughter Lizzie (Palmer) can’t find a man, and living on the remote and desolate ranch on the edge of civilization makes opportunities few and far between. Pater familias H. C. Curry (Mark Edward Smith) lost his wife years ago, and sons Noah (John Bateman) and Jim (Paul Carbonell) fight over Jim’s penchant for women who flirt with him, and Noah’s uptight belief that nothing fun is ever worth pursuing. Sometimes the only solution to a sinking ship is jumping off into the raging sea, and Starbuck (Fowler) arrives to push the Currys overboard. For $100, he promises rain within 24 hours, and while his meteorological credentials are slim, he’s the only straw of hope H. C. can grasp at. As in any crisis, there’s a human need to do SOMEthing, no matter how grandly foolish it seems at the time.
There’s everything to love about this production from Sheriff’s (Alan Sincic) heartwarming dog stories to Carbonell’s charming goofiness to the rustically avant garde set by Bud Clark. Don Fowler gives one of the best performances of his career as the gilt-tongued Starbuck. Even as he admits his con, he becomes ever so much more believable. John Bateman’s Noah provides his counterpart, getting his way through power and abuse, and even as you know he’s wrong, you still feel compelled to follow his lead. Jennifer Palmer provides the most interesting transition of all – at the beginning, you’ll agree with Noah that in her homespun dress, she’s not much to look at, but when Starbuck lets her hair down, she glows with happiness from within.
How you look at it makes more difference in life than money or appearance or position. You can feel trapped in the open prairie of the west, and liberated in an 80 seat black box theater. “The Rainmaker” is just another example of changing viewpoints, and another example of Mad Cow’s tradition of great performances of great pieces by less well know authors.
For more information on Mad Cow, please visit http://www.madcowtheatre.com</a</em>>