Once again the Ustinov Studio presents a thought provoking, challenging duologue as part of The American Season. In keeping with their policy of producing work that is new to British audiences, on this occasion director David Grindley has created a powerhouse drama from the pen of Keith Huff.
A Steady Rain is the tale of Denny and Joey, two Chicago cops whose involvement in a series of violent events change their lives and their understanding of their world forever. Within this is a detailed examination of male friendship, loyalty and the bonds that tie them together in the line of duty.
Whilst the idea of two policemen with opposing moral views is not necessarily new, what sets this apart is the quality of the writing, the depth of the friendship as well as the twists in the plot that the fall out of events leave in their wake. As a duologue the script relies entirely on retelling the story, the sparse set of two chairs creating a suitably bare interrogation room, where the characters are emotionally stripped to the core and their friendship broken beyond repair.

Performances are excellent, Denny (Vincent Riotta) and Joey (Brain Doherty) command every moment. They power through the dialogue as it stabs and cuts at their loyalty, friendship and everything that they hold most dear. The losses along the way and the final despair of Denny is cruel but at all times this piece is deeply rooted in reality and remains totally convincing.
The fractured friendship is beautifully balanced, the dereliction of duty utterly compelling. The Ustinov is becoming the guaranteed ticket for fine drama, excellent programming and above all a real treat for those in search of outstanding theatre on a smaller scale.

**** stars

Petra Schofield