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Review: Acting Up Productions' 'A Steady Rain'

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This gritty noir style drama follows the unraveling of a partnership between two Chicago cops with a brutal perspective on the society around them. Director Scot Greenwell's concept for this two-hander script seamlessly blends direct address to the audience and character interaction between the two men. The effect creates an intimate and engrossing atmosphere in which difficult subject matters - adultery, prostitution, alcoholism and drug use, gang violence and murder - unfolds.

Brian Noffke is transformed not only in appearance but in demeanor as he fully envelopes himself in the aura of the gregarious, but dangerous Denny. Sam Fain, as Joey, is a stirring and tender foil to Noffke's brash Italian cop. Unexpected twists abound as the men fall deeper and deeper into the violence of the streets. Yet just at the emotional climax of the show, the pair lose sight of the honesty and authenticity that carried them through their dark plight. From there, the once dynamic play falls flat until the lights go black. March 29 to April 1 at Wheeler Arts Center.

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