A Steady Rain--A Tale of Two Chicago Cops at MTC

Joey (Kevin Rolston) and Denny (Khris Lewin) in A Steady Rain at Marin Theatre Company

A Steady Rain by Keith Huff and directed by Meredith McDonough is a little gem which is having its West Coast Premiere at Marin Theatre Company. This play premiered in Huff's native Chicago in 2007 and is best known as the play Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig starred in on Broadway in 2009.  

A Steady Rain is a crime drama told through the confessions of Denny and Joey, two less than reputable Chicago beat cops which takes the form of team monologues to the audience, telling us what happened to them.  There is not a wasted moment in the dialogue.  Everything is essential.  

Denny (Khris Lewin) and Joey (Kevin Rolston) are two of Chicago's less than finest beat cops who confess to the audience the misdeeds and mistakes that have turned their lives into violent chaos with their in-your-face storytelling.  These two Chicago police officers are longtime partners and best friends.  Joey is single and lonely, and Denny is married with children; but both men have flaws and serious problems.  Introverted Joey struggles with a drinking problem and secretly loves Denny's wife, Connie; angry tough-guy Denny can barely disguise his racism and cheats on Connie with a prostitute on his beat.  

These two cops offer contrasting descriptions of their harrowing experiences.  They relate how Walter Lorenz, a pimp that Denny has harassed over the years, shoots a bullet through Denny's front window causing flying glass to sever an artery in Denny's son's neck. Denny pursues Lorenz relentlessly drawing Denny into a series of dangerous and incriminating activities. During a domestic disturbance, the two return a frightened Vietnamese boy to a man who says he is the boy's uncle.  The uncle turns out to be a cannibalistic serial killer.  

These two actors have mastered the Chicago street-speak, with their accents mostly in place and they both tell their characters' stories with a centeredness that confidently holds the stage.  Kevin Rolston creates a complete portrait as Joey who emerges as a constant worrier born with a sense of guilt and a fear of offending.  Khris Lewin does a great job of bringing Denny to life as a blustery family guy with skewed notions of domestic and professional honor.  

Meredith McDonough's tight staging on a sparse set by Andrew Boyce-just a couple of green upholstered metal chairs on a platform under a slanted, grated ceiling is enormously effective.  Go see A Steady Rain. According to MTC's Artistic Director, Jasson Minadakis says, "It's a roller coaster ride of suspense and surprises that takes the good cop-bad cop genre to a level all its own."  

Performances run through February 26, 2012, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. There are matinees on Sunday at 2 p.m. and a special Saturday matinee February 25 at 2 p.m. Performances are held at Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley, CA.  For tickets, call 415-388-5208 or go to www.marintheatre.org.

Coming up next at Marin Theatre Company will be Othello, the Moor of Venice by William Shakespeare directed by Jasson Minadakis, March 29 through April 22, 2012.

Flora Lynn Isaacson