TV Review: Rain Dogs

Daisy May Cooper stars in the challenging emotional terrain of Rain Dogs

“I want people to take my writing seriously”

Cash Carraway’s Rain Dogs certainly hits hard. As a 30 minute show, the expectation is sort of set in the domain of comedy and the presence of Daisy May Cooper indicates potentially edgier territory, but even that overused monker ‘dark comedy’ can’t do justice to the bleakness of some of the material here, blacker than the night at times.

For it is as much drama as comedy, as daring as it is diverting and it is an essential contradiction that I’m still not quite sure that it pulls off. Cooper plays Costello Jones, first seen being evicted from her council flat with daughter Iris (an excellent Fleur Tashjian) and then spending the day juggling the multiple jobs that don’t pay enough to cover the rent and scrabbling for a place to spend the fast approaching night.

A study of grinding poverty then, touching on issues of class, sex, consent, generational trauma and voyeurism. But with the release from prison of Jack Farthing’s wealthy wastrel Selby, Costello’s upper-class mate from university, there’s an element of hijinks that (kinda) lighten the tone from time to time. The structure of the show is almost picaresque in its variety, totally unexpected in its shifts and so it can feel hard to know where you stand with it.

Working class life through a novelistic, even fairytale-ish lens? Realism really isn’t the thing here, as even sex work and women’s refuges turn into places of crusading speechifying, fantastical fuzziness softens edges here but then punishing darkness sharpens others there. It is a potent mix but not always effective as the emotional throughline is hard to trace. Some brilliant supporting performances though, from the likes of Anna Chancellor, Tanya Moodie, Ken Nwosu, Tom Durant-Pritchard and Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *