“A Steady Rain” – Actors Theatre

This review aired on KBAQ November 4, 2013


Actors Theatre, Playhouse on the Park, Viad Corporate Center
Phoenix, AZ

It is difficult to attend a well performed production but condemn it because the bland script makes the experience disappointing.  Such is the case of Actors Theatre rebirth with the local premiere production of Keith Huff’s new play, “A Steady Rain.”  The drama recently played a short Broadway engagement that was sustained by featuring two major movie talents, Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman, as two Chicago beat cops.  Without the dynamic brought by these two powerhouse performers, the local production with actors who lack Craig and Jackman’s magnetism, the chat between the rough and tough Chicago cops plods and never pulls audiences into the character study.

The two cops, Joey, played by iTheatre Collaborative artistic director Christopher Haines, and Denny, played by local actor Joseph Kremer, chatter on and on about local conditions and how they could better solve the issues they confront.  But Anthony Runfola’s theatrically dry production never catches fire.  Instead, it becomes a longwinded chat by two biased and opinionated cops about conditions caused by their lack of understanding of how to handle tough situations with a finesse that could make things easier for them.

With strong personalities like Craig and Jackman, attention would be drawn to the discussions and audiences would become involved.  Runfola’s staging is stark.  Two chairs serve the performers as their discussion takes them to various described locations such as their squad car, their homes where the two are lifelong friends, and other common locations.  Neither man is very complex nor seems to have much experience outside their own insulated world where everyone thinks as they do.

Runfola’s staging allows the chatty play to meander.  It never moves with a forceful purpose or distinction.  While both Haines and Kremer create believable characterizations, they do nothing to make the men interesting.

There’s nothing wrong with Actors Theatre’s “A Steady Rain,” but the disappointing play isn’t that fascinating nor does it expose any unexpected ideas or thoughts from the two cops.  It just sits blandly on stage at the Playhouse on the Park without anything to pull in audiences.  It continues through Sunday, November 10.  For tickets, call the Actors Theatre box office at 602-888-0368 or order tickets online at www.actorstheatrephx.org.

Grade: D