Regional Reviews: Las Vegas
A Steady Rain
Gorman and Brown play a pair of Chicago beat cops, convinced that their repeated failures to make detective are the result of reverse racism. Denny (played by Brown) has no intention of abandoning his racist attitudes. Joey (played by Gorman) is more open to change, even attending the departmental sensitivity training that Denny disparages. Friends since childhood, and both struggling with substance abuse, they nonetheless have divergent personalities and increasingly disparate moral compasses. As we learn more about the self-destructive Denny, his downward spiral seems preordained.
Brown and Gorman are gifted actors, and it is hard to imagine anyone doing a better job bringing these troubled characters to life. Indeed, they could probably swap roles and be equally convincing.
Director Amblad brilliantly overcomes the formidable challenge of turning what is essentially 100 minutes of narration into an experience filled with action and movement. The audience is seated on bleachers on all three sides of the triangular stage, and the actors use not only the entire stage but also platforms scattered throughout the audience. At one point, the titular rain becomes almost literal, as Amblad uses a clever device to get the characters soaking wet. When the characters describe their encounters with othersa spouse, a frightened teenagerthose unseen characters are a palpable presence. The only off-note is the actors' occasional interactions with the audience, which are more awkward than engaging.
It's a strong productionmuch better, in fact, than Huff's play deserves. The cliché-ridden script offers nothing we haven't encountered before, in myriad films and television cop shows. We can see the ending a mile off, which makes the final 15 minutes more plodding than climactic. Worse still, one plot device is based on realand well publicizedevents involving serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. This is a huge and unnecessary distraction.
Even at the play's low point, set designer Eric A. Koger's bleak street scene strikes the perfect note, right down to the faded crosswalk and the trickle of water in the rain-soaked gutter.
A Public Fit Theatre Company's A Steady Rain runs through February 23, 2020, at The Usual Place, 100 S. Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas NV. Performances are Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2 p..m, and Saturday, February 22, at 2 p.m. Tickets: $30 general admission; $25 seniors and students. For tickets and information, please visit www.apublicfit.org.