A STEADY RAIN is a Deluge of Emotion Worth Revisiting

Honest Pint’s Theatre’s revival of A Steady Rain, written by Keith Huff of Mad Men and House of Cards, marks the company’s 10th anniversary.

Currently playing at the Theatre Raleigh Arts Center and directed by Honest Pint’s Co-Artistic Director Susannah Hough, the audience is pulled into a vise that tightens as the story unfolds. Reprising their roles from Honest Pint’s inaugural production in 2013,  David Henderson (Joey) and Ryan Brock (Denny) interrogate a night fraught with emotion that inexorably changes the lives of everyone around them.

This two man show opens – and remains – inside an interrogation room where Denny and Joey set up the incident that puts everything else into motion. When they are called to respond to a routine disorderly encounter, they find a young, naked Vietnamese boy acting erratically. With Denny’s priorities elsewhere, he instructs Joey to turn the young boy over to the “beefy blonde guy” who claims to be the boy’s uncle. Against his better judgment, Joey does. Reminiscent of the Dahmer case, they unknowingly return the boy to a serial killer the press will later dub “The Cannibal Killer.” When questioned about the incident, Denny and Joey’s stories don’t align. One of them must take the fall. 

The intimacy of Theatre Raleigh’s space enhances every aspect of Huff’s brilliant yet troubled script. Ryan Brock astounds as Denny. As the events unfold and the tension grows, so does Brock’s performance. While Denny is a stomach-churning example of toxic masculinity, Brock adds a layer of humanity that can’t be overlooked.  

Denny’s counterpart is Joey, whose timid and passive behavior fuels the storyline as much as Denny’s rage. Portrayed by David Henderson, Joey’s humanity is nearly broken. Henderson gives the impression of drowning throughout the ninety minutes – from his crestfallen expressions to the suit that swims on his body, he is visibly shaken by the end.

Like the relentless rain that falls throughout, this production continues to build. Riley Hough tackles original music for this production which is both intense and jarring. However, it is the direction and brilliant acting performances that make this difficult subject matter a deluge of emotion worth experiencing.

Hough provides many trigger warnings for this show. From the show program.

A STEADY RAIN is an intense piece of theatre that tackles many themes that could be found disturbing or triggering. These themes could include but are not limited to violence, suicide, addiction, mental health concerns, death, racism, etc. These themes, as difficult as they can be, also need a voice, as they are a significant part of our society.

A Steady Rain, presented by Honest Pint Theatre runs through February 4th at Theatre Raleigh. For more information visit https://www.honestpinttheatre.org/.

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