22 February 2016
What would Law & Order look like as a theatrical performance? The closest thing would be A Steady Rain by Keith Huff, a writer of popular series Mad Men and House of Cards. Currently playing at the Arcola Theatre until March 5th, it is a story filled with friendship, betrayal, racism, violence and extraordinary events that change the lives of protagonists Joey and Denny. Directed by Andrew Pearson and featuring two fabulous male leads, it is not to be missed.
Joey and Denny are childhood friends and work together as policemen in Chicago, both dreaming of becoming detectives. Joey is married with two kids in the suburbs while Denny still lives alone in a small apartment. Constantly together, there is great distance in the lives they lead off duty. They are narrating and living the story at the same time. This seems confusing, but it works extremely well. The characters are able to take a step back from their lives, reflect on it, and better describe it as they tell the audience what has happened to them that has made their lives change. Not too much can be said of the plot, leaving eager theatre lovers with a little mystery regarding the actual turn of events that take place in A Steady Rain.
The title of the play seems odd, but one must go and discover why there is a steady rain at the end of the performance. The audience can perfectly visualize the rain with the help of the creative set design creating a trickle of rain on stage. While the décor is quite minimal, it is well done in an effort not to outshine the outstanding performances of the actors, Vincent Regan and David Schaal. With a table, two chairs, a fridge and a screen projecting images in the background, it is just enough to be able to enter the world of Joey and Denny and listen to their incredible journey. Spotlights are used to emphasize specific moments of the descriptions but in general, the set is quite dark and simple.
There are only two characters on stage but any other person mentioned in the story comes to life through the actors’ phenomenal storytelling skills. The audience follows the performance living the emotions portrayed on stage: pain, sadness, anger… everyone is going through Joey and Denny’s struggle. There are moments of humor, but this is not a funny play. It brings up difficult emotions that are inescapable during these two hours.
Storytelling takes a macho turn in A Steady Rain. Spectators will cry, jump from fear and laugh, promising an emotionally filled evening at the Arcola Theatre until March 5th.