Reviewed by Rosemary Knight
Yesterday evening I went to The Lowry Theatre, Salford Quays, Manchester to watch Dan Gordon’s Rain Man, starring Chris Fountain as Charlie Babbitt and Adam Lilley as his brother Raymond. The show is based on the Oscar winning film, set in the 1980s, which starred Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman.
Charlie Babbitt is an unpleasant, wheeler dealer, used car salesman who spends the first half of the show frantically shouting at everyone. He discovers that his estranged father has passed away leaving him just a car and some rose bushes but has left the remainder of his three million dollar fortune to a trust which cares for Raymond, Charlie’s autistic brother. Charlie decides to kidnap Raymond until he can get his hands on half of the inheritance and the brothers take a road trip in the car which Charlie had inherited from his father.
Adam Lilley is excellent in his portrayal of autistic savant Raymond, having been institutionalised in a care home for many years and unable to deal with everyday situations. He manages to portray a person with autism with great sensitivity and is very convincing. Chris Fountain is also superb as Charlie, showing the nasty side of his character, but also his vulnerability. The only thing which really dismayed me about this stage show was the insensitive language which I thought was unnecessary, especially when during the earlier part of the show Charlie constantly referred to his brother as a f***ing retard. Having family members who are on the autistic spectrum, I found this language to be extremely outdated and offensive. Other members of the audience seemed quite shocked and embarrassed by this as did I.
The production is set to a background of nostalgic 1980s music which was played to great effect during the many set changes.
I must admit I did not particularly enjoy this show. Even though I realise that this production is set during the 1980s when people were not so politically correct and enlightened about disability, I still believe that the show should have been brought up to date slightly so that Raymond’s autism was not patronised in the manner it was.
Tickets cost from £16.50 (booking fees may apply).
Rain Man is at The Lowry in Manchester from 11-16 March 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.thelowry.com or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000