Tuesday, March 6, 2012

GableStage: A Steady Rain (5 reviews)

GableStage opened its production of Keith Huff's A Steady Rain on March 3, 2012.
This hard-hitting Broadway smash chronicles love and rage on the streets of Chicago. A domestic disturbance call sends two cops, friends since childhood, on a harrowing journey that will test their loyalties and change their lives forever. As their lifelong friendship is put to the ultimate test, both men must deal with honor and loyalty in the face of adversity.
Joseph Adler directed a cast that featured Greg Wiener and Todd Allen Durkin.

Roger Martin reviewed for Miami ArtZine:
You have to list them alphabetically, these two, Todd Allen Durkin and Gregg Weiner, because you sure can't do it by talent.  There's no cutting contest when these two take the stage; there's too much love for their craft.
The play's format is a tad awkward, the actors breaking the fourth wall with their wonderfully Chicago accented storytelling and then abruptly interacting, tending to break the flow of immersion.  But these two, Durkin and Weiner, make these transitions so smoothly that there is only a tiny feeling that, man, this would have been a terrific piece without the wall breaking.  Show, don't tell.  And I'm not knocking Joe Adler's direction.  He's doing what's called for, and doing it well.
It's Chicago noir:  the silhouetted, gorgeously lighted skyline, the elevated's steel girders, the brilliance of the sound and lights of the passing train, the walk-ups, the brutality, the bleakness of the imagined streets, the destroyed lives in the carefully darkened scenes.  Typical of GableStage, the set by Lyle Baskin, the lights by Jeff Quinn, and the sound by Matt Corey match the excellence on stage.
John Lariviere reviewed for Talkin' Broadway:
This hard-hitting, gritty drama is the story of two fellow Chicago policeman and life-long friends Joey (Todd Allen Durkin) and Denny (Gregg Weiner)... The two actors handle the huge amount of dialogue (and monologues) masterfully. They command attention, never drop pacing, and work off of each other beautifully. As actors they show great focus that allows one to forget that they are not really these characters. The only minor flaw in their performances is that their accents sometimes wander from Chicago to Brooklyn.
There are no moments of humor except for the occasional jocular mannerism and off-color language, so the 90-minute drama can wear you down a bit. The scenic design both maximizes the space and serves the action well. One may be struck by how well this play would translate into a movie with all the characters mentioned being fleshed out. Not surprisingly it is rumored that Steven Spielberg is interested in directing a film version of the play. If so, put it down on your must see list. In the meantime, come and see this production of A Steady Rain at the GableStage.
Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
When Keith Huff’s A Steady Rain opened on Broadway two seasons ago, the production featured two movie star hunks – Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig... The buzz then was not so much about the play but about its leading men...

Now GableStage has opened its own production of A Steady Rain, and thanks to the exquisitely detailed performances of Gregg Weiner and Todd Allen Durkin as those cops, the play gets the focus this time around.
Weiner and Durkin, Carbonell Award-winning actors who have recurring roles in the upcoming Starz series Magic City, persuasively disappear into their roles. Artfully guided by director Joseph Adler, the veteran South Florida actors are completely believable as guys who have been pals since kindergarten (or, as they render the word in Chicago-speak, “kinnygarden”).
Terrible things happen over the 85 minutes of A Steady Rain. Punctuated by the chilling pop of gunfire, those awful incidents are word pictures painted by two masterful actors

Weiner takes Denny from cockiness to guilt-laced desire to the darkest of places. Durkin’s deceptively restrained, nervous Joey becomes a man capable of all sorts of betrayal. Both of these fine actors use their faces, their expressive silences and their interpretive skills to create moments so powerful that you get lost in their world of shock, violence and sorrow. They know how to take a good play and make it mesmerizing, and they’re the reason to see A Steady Rain.
Mary Damiano reviewed for Florida Theater On Stage:
A Steady Rain is a character study of these two men and their relationship. This is the kind of play director Joe Adler loves, one that will drag its audience through the muck and leave them breathless on the other side.  The plot, which includes a real-life incident involving cannibalistic serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, is conveyed through monologues, with an occasional flashback of conversation between them.  The structure is monotonous at times —  after all, the first rule of writing is show, don’t tell — and nearly an hour into this 90 minute play one might wonder what it’s about or where it’s going.  But here, to disagree with Shakespeare, the play is not the thing. The acting is.

Weiner and Durkin are brilliant actors — South Florida is lucky to have them — and here in Huff’s two-hander, their brilliance is laid bare for the audience to see. Because while the plot in A Steady Rain is told, the emotional core of the story is shown, etched into Weiner’s and Durkin’s face.  A Steady Rain offers these two actors meaty roles in which every feeling — betrayal, pain, love, longing, guilt, anger– waltzes across their faces. The pain in Durkin’s eyes and the ache in his voice is palpable as he recounts his illicit love and stolen moments with his best friend’s wife.  Weiner is at his anti-hero best as he recalls his bad behavior in a classic the-end-justifies-the-means rationalization. Together, Weiner and Durkin create a riveting pas de deux that is not to be missed.
Chris Joseph reviewed for The Miami New Times:
Huff's storytelling is rich and often poetic. Unfortunately, that's all there is. The mostly middling script is brought to life through outstanding performances by Todd Allen Durkin and Gregg Weiner, two GableStage veterans brimming with intensity. Most of the value of this play is in their blistering performances. The two actors play off each other masterfully, revealing a paradoxical view of deeply flawed men caught up in dark, somber crises.
Durkin... will appear in a recurring role on Starz's new Miami-based Mad Men-esque series, Magic City, this spring... His sullen and subdued performance reveals the cop as a weak, timid man who is stunted by fear and who finds inner strength through his own moral compass.

The always-excellent Weiner...who will also appear in Magic City, is at his best when he's a blustering, foulmouthed cynic. He turns in a savage performance as the deeply troubled Denny.
Joseph Adler's direction helps the one-act play move fluidly. Adler, who has a knack for attracting wonderful actors to GableStage, usually gets out of the way and lets the actors and stagehands work their craft. Credit the fantastic production and artistic design team of Baskin and Quinn, as well as Matt Corey, who provides the sound effects and music.
A Steady Rain plays at GableStage through April 1, 2012.

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