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Joe Pitts stars in The Wind and The Rain at Finborough Theatre

Joe Pitts stars in the first professional London production of The Wind and The Rain for over 80 years at Finborough Theatre, 11 July – 5 August.

Joe Pitts
Joe Pitts

Joe plays the central character of Charles Tritton, an 18-year-old medical student about to begin his studies in Edinburgh.

One of the biggest international hits of the 1930s, ‘The Wind and the Rain’ by Merton Hodge starred Celia Johnson when it opened in the West End in 1933, running for over 1,000 performances at three different theatres – the St. Martin’s, the Queen’s and the Savoy. It played for six months on Broadway, toured internationally, was translated into nine languages, was televised multiple times, and remained a staple of British repertory theatre for decades.

Joe was recently seen as George (and cover Melchior) in the critically acclaimed Almeida Theatre production of the seminal musical ‘Spring Awakening’, directed by Rupert Goold, that saw him nominated ‘Best performer in a Musical’ at the Stage Debut Awards 2022.

We chatted with him during rehearsals this week

Q: What were your first thoughts when you were invited to be a part of The Wind and the Rain?
Joe: When I found out I’d booked the job I was eager to get started and meet our brilliant cast. Merton Hodge wrote a piece that strikes an impressive balance between comedy and drama. On my first reading of the play I connected to his characters and the friendships and relationships they form with one another, so I was excited to see these come to life in the rehearsal room.

Q: Written in the 1930s, how do you think this production will be viewed today?
Joe: It is very much a period piece so audiences today will be immediately transported back to that time in the interwar years. The entire action of the play takes place in the students’ study at Mrs McFie’s boarding house in Edinburgh, and we follow the characters as they study to complete their medical training. Our brilliant set and costume designer Carla Evans has gathered a vast range of props from old vinyl records and medical books to a 1930s magnifying glass and a vintage telephone. I’d say the style of writing also has a strong feel of the comic plays of the time such as Noël Coward’s ‘Private Lives’ and ‘Hayfever’, both in terms of the naturalistic dialogue and the humour that’s found throughout. Ultimately, though, I hope modern-day audiences will connect to the universal themes of the play and will see themselves in at least one of Hodge’s vivid characters.

Q: What can you tell us about Charles Tritton, the character that you play?
Joe: We first meet Charles as an 18-year-old who arrives in Edinburgh to embark on a five-year medical course. He’s seen as somewhat of an outsider in the medical world given his artistic interests and upbringing in London. He’s also just left behind Jill, a childhood friend who his mother expects him to marry when he’s older. Like most students at university, he’s grappling with his identity and his purpose in life, and over the course of the play we see him grow into himself, taking ownership of his mistakes and fighting for what’s most important to him

Q: What is at the heart of the story?
Joe: I think the play taps into what it means to grow up, especially in those years of early adulthood where your identity is in a state of flux and you’re interrogating aspects of yourself like your interests or your sexuality or your ambitions for the future. All of this ties into a love story that runs throughout and the whole play is framed by the camaraderie of university life.

Q: Why should theatregoers get along to see the production?
Joe: The Finborough is the perfect venue for this play as the intimacy of the space allows audience members to really immerse themselves in the action on stage; they’ll feel like they’re a fly on the wall of student digs in the 1930s. There are also plenty of comedic moments that run in tandem with a dramatic narrative centred on love and friendship. We’re having a blast working on this in rehearsals and we can’t wait to share it with audiences at the Finborough so please book tickets and come along!

*******

Our paths lie different ways now. You see, these years have nothing to do with the main stream of your life.
That’s all ahead…

The first professional London production for over 80 years

Edinburgh, 1933.

Charles Tritton, an eighteen-year-old medical student about to begin his studies, arrives at Mrs McFie’s boarding house.

Before him lie five years’ of swotting for exams and sweating over dissections, alongside his fellow residents – eternal student Gilbert Raymond who would rather be drinking and chasing girls than passing his exams; the studious sportsman and frightful bore, John Williams; and the sage older postgraduate student, Frenchman Dr Paul Duhamel.

Charles begins his course counting down the days until he can return to the life he’s left behind in London, and Jill, the girl whom he has promised to marry.

Until sculptor Anne Hargreaves walks into his study…

And Charles is suddenly torn between the life that has been mapped out for him and the unexpected possibility of another path…

THE WIND AND THE RAIN
by Merton Hodge
Tuesday, 11 July 2023 – Saturday, 5 August 2023
https://finboroughtheatre.co.uk/

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  3. Patricia Hodge joins cast of A Day in the Death of Joe Egg
  4. Dr Angelus at Finborough Theatre – Review
  5. London premiere of Broadway play A Steady Rain

Author

  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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