Rain Dogs (TV Series) Review

Cash Carraway's latest project is originally expressive and darkly funny with memorable performances.

Rain Dogs is a British comedy-drama series from author, playwright, and screenwriter, Cash Carraway. The series was released on BBC One and HBO on 6th March 2023.

The series centres around Costello [Daisy May Cooper], a self-pronounced working-class, single mother, navigating through life with her daughter Iris [Fleur Tashjian], and her closest friend, Selby [Jack Farthing]. The series also stars Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo and Adrian Edmondson in the supporting roles of Gloria and Lenny, respectively.

Selby [Jack Farthing] and Iris [Fleur Tashjian] in Rain Dogs

Cooper’s performance as Costello was quite compelling and she balanced out the character with painfully dramatic moments and deadpan, gallows humour. I did, however, find that although Costello is supposed to be a born and raised Londoner, her native accent was distracting – especially with the contrast of her on-screen family.

I particularly liked the structure of the series, the storytelling never felt stagnant due to the format taking place over an extended length of time, indicated by intertitles in some of the episodes. This made the series play almost like a novel.

Costello [Daisy May Cooper] in Rain Dogs

As a person preference, I don’t watch a lot of series of films described as gritty. One of the series’ main themes is poverty and the class-divide. At some points, whilst watching the series, I did think, being working-class myself, that a number of the show’s events were pretty unrealistic. Why doesn’t she get up the CAB? I thought to myself.

Still, I appreciate that rationality isn’t often required when watching a work of fiction, but I felt like this almost swung too far in the opposite direction in certain aspects. Lenny, for example, played by Ade Edmondson, is a character who really lacked development, and seemed to be involved as a source of humour and bewilderment. It is not until much later in the series do we see his character have a role in the wider development of the story.

Lenny [Ade Edmondson] and Costello [Daisy May Cooper] in Rain Dogs

The character of Florian Selby was portrayed by Farthing with aplomb and style, a sort of malignantly eccentric aristocrat. The constant throughout the series is the relationship between Costello, Iris, and Selby, although we do see him undergo his own personal revelations.

Gloria [Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo] in Rain Dogs

In my opinion, it’s not the true-to-life epitome of working-class, impoverished life, some very middle class newspapers tout it as. The series has a hazy dreamlike quality to it, its overall demeanour almost too overripe to be authentic. This doesn’t mean it’s not worth watching, it absolutely is. The performances are compelling, as is the narrative, but it doesn’t meet the expectation of stark realism. Instead, take it for what it is; an expressive and darkly funny series.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Rain Dogs is available to stream now on BBC iPlayer.

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