This production of "The Rainmaker" loosely follows the pattern of a summer thunderstorm.

It starts out rather dry and uncomfortably, the builds in character development and plot until it erupts into a shower of strong emotion, washing away many of the cast's problems and resolving story line issues.The story is fairly simple but deals nonetheless with a variety of complex issues: family dysfunction, self-esteem, personal courage and facing reality.

Rainmaker Starbuck sweeps into town promising change as much as he promises rain. He comes into a family that's tearing itself apart as the characters try to jockey for position and the power to direct their own lives.

He finds a spinsterly woman who's alternately convinced she's worthless by a domineering older brother and worth slightly less by an overindulgent father.

Starbuck is the catalyst to changes that ultimately refresh and renew the family members and those close around them. He even ultimately changes himself.

He is also the salvation of the play. His character is charismatic, strong and well-defined, while some of the other cast members take a little too long to settle into who they are.

Gordy Villarini plays Starbuck in one of the two casts and he's romantic, utterly without shame and totally believable as he promises what he can't possibly deliver - and then delivers it.

Kim Stone Wares plays Lizzie Curry, the sister who's dreaming of children and a husband but can't seem to bring herself to play the games of romance to get "got."

Wares does a credible job throughout but does especially well when she's trying to absorb what Starbuck tries to tell her about herself, what he sees in her. The tears and emotions that play across her face are real.

Paul Hill, playing the dark and brooding File, is also good. He and the sheriff, LaMar Nielsen, introduce some other issues that are keeping File from moving toward Lizzie.

Jeremy Anderson stands out in the role of Jimmy Curry. He provides most of the humor and a lot of the sense of where the play is going. He's guileless and often it's Anderson's delivery that creates a lightness and some fun to some fairly heavy scenes.

Noah Curry, played by Larson Holyoak, gets better as the story progresses although he starts out pretty rigid and difficult to like. His ill temper and frustrations seem a little overboard.

H.C. Curry, father of the clan pushed to petty bickering and fistfighting by the heat and the circumstances between them, is the hardest to relate with. Tom Lamoreaux played the part the night of this review and only gradually came into his place.

See "The Rainmaker" to learn about taking chances and the place confidence has in shaping lives. Go for an evening of moving theater. Just be prepared for a bit of a drought.