Reviewed by Amanda Hayes
I took my mum along to The Hawth in Crawley, West Sussex, last night where we had a fabulous evening watching the stage performance of Rain Man. Situated just ten minutes from Gatwick Airport, with very easy access to the M23 motorway and plenty of free parking The Hawth is a great theatre to watch any show.
Once in the foyer picking our up tickets was quick and easy even though the theatre was packed and we were soon seated in the rear stalls which has a fantastic view of the stage. Unlike some theatres there isn’t actually a bad seat in the house and the acoustics are fabulous. During the interval there is plenty of seating in and nearby the bar area which is well-stocked including a selection of lovely local ice creams to purchase
The performance is based on the Oscar-winning film which starred Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman back in 1989 and the scene changes in the show were filled with 80’s classics such as Bon Jovi, instantly spiriting me back to my teenage years. Charlie Babbit (Chris Fountain) is a car salesman on the verge of going bankrupt when he hears about the death of his estranged father in the play’s opening scene. Learning that he has been cut off from the family inheritance in favour of an unnamed beneficiary, Charlie angrily sets off to the lawyers to find out who has been left all of the money. He discovers the existence of older brother Raymond (Adam Lilley), an autistic savant who has been in an institution since Charlie was very young.
Charlie goes to see Raymond and takes him out of the institution with the intention of using him as a bargaining tool to get his half of the money. When he gets to the airport and finds that Raymond won’t fly, the pair set off on a road trip to LA which sees them bonding as brothers for the first time.
The chemistry between Charlie and Raymond is just brilliant and although the performance is intense at times there are bursts of humour which break the mood. Susan, Charlie’s girlfriend, performs a great role showing a caring and compassionate contrast to Charlie’s money grabbing attitude. Whilst I was initially disappointed that Paul Nicholls was unable to play the part of Raymond due to illness, Adam Lilley is fantastic and was fully deserving of his standing ovation at the end of the show.
We had a fabulous evening watching the amazing Rain Man performed by a very talented and passionate cast. Running from Mon 11 – Sat 16 February at The Hawth it is a must see whether or not you have seen the original film.
Tickets cost from £19.50 to £34 (booking fees may apply).
Rain Man is at The Hawth in Crawley from 11-16 February 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit hawth.co.uk or call the box office on 01293 553636.
The Hawth, Hawth Avenue, Crawley, Sussex, RH10 6YZ | 01293 553636