Total Pageviews

Saturday, May 30, 2015

A Steady Rain... fine, layered, complicated performances

I took in Blarney Productions' A Steady Rain last night, at C103.  It's a dark and gritty story of two cops, friends from kinnygarden, in Chicago.  The show explores the grey area morality of Joey (Jesse Gervais) and Denny (John Ullyatt) as they tumble through re-telling the events of a summer in Chicago where everything goes wrong and the rain never stops.

Both actors give layered performances as they take turns telling the events of their shared history.  As beat cops aiming for promotion to detective and getting overlooked each tries their own way to cope and try to get ahead. Denny (Ullyatt) is married with the perfect wife and two young children.  He's the alpha of this relationship but despite his perfect looking life he is also the more corrupt. Joey (Gervais) is the worrier and the peace-maker, he sees the the wrong in what Denny insists is right, but he is challenged by his own hesitancy and the pattern of their relationship to push for what is right. The tale is told back and forth, and interspersed with dialogue between the two. Narration is often a challenge, but both are born story-tellers and the twists of the story and it's horrible inevitability are handled deftly. It becomes particularly interesting when each presents the details of the same events.  There is significance in the differences.

Director Wayne Paquette has wisely cast the eminently likable Ullyatt to play the more reprehensible Denny - his natural charisma bleeds through in a way that makes you not hate him, and which makes you understand how he has gotten away with what he has.  Gervais' emotional connection is also quite wonderful when he is stuck in Joey's inertia and helplessness as some of the more horrible things play out.  Although on opening night some moments felt a touch under-rehearsed, overall it made for a compelling and engaging 90 minutes.  

No comments: