Show artwork for All about Ray
Angus Grant in Come Rain or Come Shine. Photo: Jeff Busby
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All about Ray

Angus Grant talks to us about what drew him to Come Rain or Come Shine, including his admiration for the great jazz classics, just like his character Ray.

By Paige Farrell

Though a story about three university friends – Ray, Emily and Charlie – it is Ray’s perspective and voice that is at the centre of Come Rain or Come Shine. The audience is privy to his memories, after all. When Angus Grant first read Kazuo Ishiguro’s original, this is what he connected with. ‘I understood Ray's voice in it. There was something about it that felt familiar and natural,’ he says. ‘I could very easily feel where he was coming from.’ This made it a very appealing role for him. ‘I thought it'll be great to play this because I can, for whatever reason, understand his perspective.’

But because the story is all about Ray, Grant says ‘it was a little daunting, given that it's all from his perspective, and he's all the way through it.’ Grant barely leaves the stage for the entire show. ‘Certainly it's a big role and a challenge,’ he says. ‘But the way the show rockets along and goes from one step to the next, it’s really like stepping onto a train and getting taken along for the ride.’

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Gillian Cosgriff and Angus Grant in Come Rain or Come Shine. Photo: Jeff Busby

Staying grounded

Ray is mostly the stable contrast to his gaudier friend Charlie. He is an old soul who loves the jazz standards and becomes an ESL teacher in Spain. But there is one moment the show builds to where Ray lets loose, so to speak. How does Grant ensure this side of Ray stays true to his character, which has an underlying sense of longing and somberness to him? ‘The longing in Ray is always there. And it’s an important part of what makes him tick, I suppose. It’s not something he necessarily acknowledges or embraces, but it’s definitely an important part of what makes him him.’ And this is what grounds Grant during the musical’s moments of high farce. ‘Instead of just becoming a silly caricature, that keeps me connected and grounded in the character during the crazy madness.’

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Angus Grant in Come Rain or Come Shine. Photo: Jeff Busby

Luckily for Grant, he shares Ray’s love of the Great American Songbook. ‘I certainly share some of Ray's interest in that music of jazz and big band.’ He also admires how Tim Finn has composed the original music for the show with these classics in mind. ‘There are elements where some of that Great American Songbook music influences some of the songs, and they move seamlessly from one to another. I find that extraordinary.’

Working with the new

Being a long-term Finn fan, Grant has loved being witness to Finn’s creative process for developing songs for a new musical. ‘I could hear Tim’s voice in the songs when I first heard them … so it was a thrill to be able to work on them,’ he says. ‘And the fact that it’s a new musical and to see the way the songs are shaped and changed to better serve the text and to make adjustments for different performers, it’s really exciting.’

One of Grant’s favourite songs to sing is ‘Stories after Five’ – the show’s 11 o’clock number. At this point, Ray is in the midst of a chaotic scene which the song interrupts. Ray takes a moment to see the beauty in the urban life that Charlie and Emily have created for themselves; the beauty and the simplicity of the everyday. ‘I really like “Stories after Five” which comes near the end of the show. It's a lovely moment of air and peace between elements of chaos. It’s very satisfying.’ He also can’t help but enjoy one of the more playful numbers. ‘And I suppose “Throw Her off the Scent” for its insanity,’ he laughs.

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Angus Grant and Chris Ryan in Come Rain or Come Shine. Photo: Jeff Busby

Grant has just loved the entire experience of being back at MTC. ‘The opportunity just to be here and to do this is a huge privilege and joy for me,’ he says at the end of our chat. ‘It’s such a special thing to be able to work with such an incredible group of professionals and creatives. The whole experience has been a life moment tick for me.’

 

Come Rain or Come Shine is on stage until 23 July at Southbank Theatre.

Published on 13 July 2022

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