THEATRE – A Steady Rain – Lost in Translation – HST – 4K

By Peter Maddern

Two cops working together on the beat in Chicago, one a racist, the other a loner; well, a drive-by shooting would seem inevitable. Keith Huff’s riveting and often disturbing A Steady Rain starts this way when the home of Denny (Nick Fagan) is the target, seriously injuring his two year old son. From there we witness a man spin out of control while his partner Joey (Rohan Watts), with ambitions of his own, starts to fill the voids that Denny is leaving behind.

Things get particularly macabre and taut when one night they both attend to a routine disturbance and leave a naked Vietnamese teenager in the care of his ‘uncle’ who proceeds to devour the lad in the style of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. It is when both are offered the chance to sustain their tenuous careers by dobbing in the other for that cock-up that the brotherly love between them gets its most severe test.

The production works as two interwoven monologues with both players sitting adjoining the other; their times in and out of focus dictated by Scott Cleggett’s lighting. Huff takes us beyond your standard TV police drama into the very human worlds of both men with Denny seemingly overwhelmed by ambitions of self-destruction even though he has the most to lose.

Both Fagan and Watts deliver on their characters. Fagan’s Denny is a fire ball of anger and manipulation while Watts straddles the nuances between his own failings, ambitions and loyalty. It is the best performance I have seen from him. Fagan is perhaps too angry for too long – do we appreciate his sense of helplessness at the end or does it seem more of the same from the previous 60 minutes? His performance may also struggle from an overdone Chicago accent which for even these ears, one who spent five years living in the town and who frequented many of the locales alluded to in the scrip in the age of Ditka, Sosa and Jordan, was often incomprehensible.

This production is a repeat season from its acclaimed first run at this year’s Fringe by Nick Fagan’s Lost in Translation company. His aims are to produce the scripts he has seen and wish he could perform in and this certainly production has certainly been worth his efforts to get the rights to it – for audiences at least.

For intense theatre, the aptly named A Steady Rain delivers a punch and if one missed it in March, do not again now.

Kryztoff Rating  4K

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