Joey and Denny have been friends as long as they can remember; they know everything about each other – good and bad. Now they’re partners, cops working in crime ridden Chicago. After failing the exams to become detective for the third time running, things start to unravel for Denny. He is getting in over his head concerning dealings with certain pimps, and before he knows it someone has shot through his window causing his two-year-old son to be rushed to hospital with possible brain damage. Not only does this cause a surge of bad decisions on Denny’s part, but it also provokes an incessant downpour.
Huff manages to work every cop drama cliché into the script; there is no ground breaking new perception of the American police force on display here. Every plot twist and new obstacle that challenges the Joey/Denny partnership is easily predicted and foreseen. Regan and Schaal’s performances, however, made up in part elements that the script was lacking. There is still a raw and powerful message conveyed in A Steady Rain.
The use of space and the staging creates an intimate relationship with actor and audience, heightening the cathartic tone of the piece. I particularly enjoyed the creative decision to break the fourth wall at key moments, imploring the audience for sympathy or condemning their lack of understanding. Although this brought us closer to Joey and Denny, it did not necessarily improve our understanding of their thought process or the reasoning behind their actions. Despite Regan’s formidable attempts to make Denny’s character likeable, or at least pitiful, I personally am more inclined to feel sorry for his berated boss for having to put up with him. In terms of Schaal’s Joey, there was little display of conflicting emotions in terms of defending his friend and doing the ‘right thing’. His gloomy narration conveyed Denny’s doomed, fated future from the start, there was little room for a positive outcome.
If an interesting and challenging plot is your draw, then this isn’t the play for you. However, the individual performances, the space and direction make seeing this production worthwhile.