Regional Reviews: Philadelphia
Denny (Marc D. Donovan) is a family man who has problems with authority, casual racism, and a propensity for violence. His best friend since kindergarten and partner on the beat is Joey (Keith J. Conallen), a confirmed bachelor and recovering alcoholic. Denny and Joey have always had each other's back, but their loyalties will be tested when a run in with a local prostitute sets off a series of escalating disasters.
Donovan is unapologetically brutal, effectively embodying the intense affection and violent malice of an abuser. It is a credit to the authenticity of Donovan's performance that he nonetheless evokes some sympathy from the audience. Conallen initially comes off as straight laced and socially awkward, but reveals a hidden depth over the course of the play. A Steady Rain is at its vehement best when the two actors struggle though their difficulties together, revealing a relationship as fraught and complex as any marriage.
These powerful moments would be even more effective if the play were not so persistently frenetic. Between gun shots, car wrecks, secret romance, drug addiction, and other unpleasant surprises, there is no room for the actors or the action to slow down or build up. The result is fast paced and fun to watch, but falls short of its potential for emotional impact.
Tom Weaver's excellent set design and lighting is deceptively simple and entirely effective. The impeccable sound design by Christopher Colucci adds to the dark and ominous tone of the production. Jill Keys' costumes are spot on.
Donovan and Conallen make the most out of the first-class production and Keith Huff's powerful script. So what if it's over the top? Just hang on tight and enjoy the ride.
A Steady Rain, through March 25th, 2018, at the Walnut Street Theatre's Independence Studio on 3, 825 Walnut St., Philadelphia PA. For tickets call 215-574- 3550 or 800-982- 2787 or visit www.walnutstreettheatre.org or Ticketmaster.