A Steady Rain
The perfect storm
|Chicago Commercial Collective i/a/w Chicago Dramatists presents|
|A Steady Rain|
Review by Katy Walsh
When I was a kid, I believed things were black and white. Actions were right or wrong. People were good or bad. Growing up I’ve learned nothing is that simple. Friendships have blended the colors. Humans are complicated; loving them requires compromise. And every time a friend starts down a path of destruction, I have to choose my role: bystander or interloper.
Chicago Commercial Collective presents A Steady Rain. Joey and Denny are seasoned Chicago cops. They’re partners. They grew up together. Their strong bond assures an unspoken alliance. When Joey is boozing it up, Denny covers for him. If Denny is shaking down hookers, Joey looks the other way. Denny meddles in Joey’s love life. Joey hangs out with Denny’s wife and kids. They are like brothers. When a pimp threatens his family, Denny goes on a rampage, Joey is caught in the crossfire. Where should his allegiance lie? To Denny? To the force? To Denny’s family? A Steady Rain is the perfect storm this summer.
Playwright Keith Huff masterfully penned an intricately woven tale of police corruption. Huff uses a two character narration to tell stories within the larger story. The confessional style reflection is riveting. I am completely engrossed in unraveling the facts behind multiple crime scenes. Under the solid direction of Russ Tutterow, Randy Steinmeyer (Denny) and Peter DeFaria (Joey) are sublime. Steinmeyer and DeFaria’s banter and nonverbal communication is authentically real. They morph perfectly into these passionately flawed characters. Steinmeyer rages with an exhausting level of testosterone-based absurdity. And then he gets this glazed-over, hollow expression that is even more disconcerting. Steinmeyer is scary great. DeFaria’s storytelling is so vivid that in one scene, I see Connie and the kids standing behind him. DeFaria’s conflict is heart-wrenchingly genuine.
Chicago Commercial Collective is a new producing partnership for Chicago’s home-grown successful productions. A Steady Rain was first mounted by Chicago Dramatists in 2007. It won the 2008 Joseph Jefferson Awards for Best New Work, Best Production and Best Actor (Steinmeyer). Later, it had a critically acclaimed Broadway run with Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig. Now, it’s back in Chicago with the original cast and director. Huff, Tutterow, Steinmeyer and DeFaria are a forceful foursome. Chicago has been given another chance to experience A Steady Rain. Not everything in life is absolute. But I do know for certainty that missing this show would be an absolute mistake!
A Steady Rain continues through September 2nd at Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago (map), with performances Wednesdays-Thursdays at 7:30pm, Fridays-Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm and 7pm. Tickets are $40, and are available by phone (800.595.4849) or online through Tix.com (check for half-price tickets at Goldstar.com). More information at ASteadyRainInChicago.com. (Running time: 90 minutes, without intermission)
Photos by Jeff Pines
behind the scenes
Russ Tutterow (director); Tom Burch (set); Jeff Pines (lighting, photos); Samantha Jones (costumes); Mike Tutaj (sound design); Wendye Clarendon (stage manager); Brian Loevner, Aurélia K. Fisher, Monty Cole (producers); Alex Huntsberger (asst. producer);
From the original 2007 production with Randy and Peter at Chicago Dramatists.