Steady Performances Make “A Steady Rain” A Worthy Attraction at Rep Studio

Giving us a Freudian “Good Cop-Bad Cop” scenario, “A Steady Rain” is a gritty portrayal of two life-long friends who followed the same path to become Chicago policemen and now face a moral dilemma that threatens their job and their friendship. Thanks to two marvelous performances and a down-to-earth job of directing, it becomes a gripping evening of theatre at the Studio Theatre of the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.

Michael James Reed and Joey Collins in the Rep Studio production of "A Steady Rain." photo credit: Jerry Naunheim, Jr.

Denny and Joey have had a life of good kid, bad kid and it has extended into their professional careers. With Internal Affairs looking into an incident involving their conduct in a recent case, the two go over their lives and the decisions they’ve each made leading up to their present situation. Through a series of monologues and dialogues, we see their souls laid bare. All the while, the sound of the steady rain washing over Chicago becomes a metaphor for their lives.

Joey Collins is Denny, the brash product of the Italian South Chicago neighborhood he grew up in. His tales of befriending the low life thieves, pimps and prostitutes (one in particular) of the area become a microcosm of his life and attitude. Mr. Collins’ performance is top notch as his bravado never lets up until the inevitable end of the story. The foreshadowing appears early in the script as dialogue referring to the incident in question leads us to believe only one outcome is inevitable.

Michael James Reed plays the more sedate Irish cop. His powerful portrayal of Joey brings, not only a strong contrast in their friendship, but in their demeanor as well. With his underlying passion for Denny’s married life and for his wife in particular, it becomes a struggle psychologically in both their professional and personal lives.

Although the Keith Huff script is only a bit more powerful than a solid episode of “Law & Order,” these two actors and the strong stage pictures brought about by the Rep’s Artistic Director, Steven Woolf, make it compelling theatre. Robert Mark Morgan’s squalid interrogation room setting and the marvelous lighting design (at times putting both men in the “hot seat”)  of Peter E. Sargent, just add to the grittiness.

“A Steady Rain” is the perfect piece for the Studio Theatre. Two characters, soul-baring conflict and outstanding production values from actors to director to technical staff. Catch it through February 5th at the Studio Theatre of the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Call the box office at 314-968-4925 for ticket.

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