RUN: February 3-19, 2017
RATING: 5 of 5 stars
(February 3, 2017)
Have you ever felt your life spinning out of control—despite your best efforts, nothing went right? For police partners Joey and Denny, the inconvenience of being passed over for promotion snowballs into a disturbing web of self-inflicted darkness. Joey watches his best friend become consumed by paranoia, and his feeble efforts to avert it are thwarted by his own inner demons. The play gains momentum, hurtling through the final act with engrossing suspense, striping characters bare, revealing fears and desires, smashing through pent-up emotions. Stark lighting design from April George creates an interrogation atmosphere, with sound design by Argo Thompson adding to the realism with accompanying effects bringing the story to life.
Joey (Nick Sholley) is worn down by loneliness, a dead end job, and abusive friend. He coasts along, describing events in mildly disgusted terms, accepting outrageous behavior, and slowly working up the courage to do something about it. He slumps his way through scenes, shrinking away from his partner. Denny (Mike Schaeffer) is a firecracker, reacting instantly to how he feels, whether that is lashing out or impulsively showing his love for others. Thompson’s set design takes a beating from Denny’s tantrums, emphasizing the explosive energy of his outbursts.
Their occasionally overlapping monologues describe the same events through entirely different personalities. Joey’s description is reasonable, well thought out, and linear; Denny is the personification of an unreliable narrator, yet there is a truth to his heart and devotion to family that Joey lacks. Writer Keith Huff, known for House of Cards, exposes the grim story through two men who have been tossed together since childhood, and are coming to terms with the fact that they should have drifted apart years ago, but hung on out of a perverted sense of loyalty.
A Steady Rain is a brutally honest portrayal of mutually destructive friendships, the gradual breaking down of trust in a marriage, and reminder that when we cling too desperately to what we love, it will evade our grasp. If you missed Left Edge Theatre’s production last year, take the time to attend this remount with a stellar cast and chilling tale of being on the street as a “beat cop” in Chicago.
(Recommended for high school and above due to sexual content and language.)