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A Steady Rain

Tron Theatre, Glasgow
Four stars

There's a serial killer on the loose in Theatre Jezebel's revival of Keith Huff's hard-boiled noir, first seen on Broadway in 2007, and he's eating everyone alive. For frontline cops Denny and Joey, the murderer's presence right under their noses is the final nail in the coffin of a partnership that dates back to childhood. Even now, in a lamp-lit room at a long table flanked by two rows of buckets, they joke that they're like 1970s TV heartthrobs Starsky and Hutch, except Denny and Joey's double act has long since stopped being funny.

Dressed in identical sweatpants and hoodies in Mary McCluskey's darkly brooding production, Andy Clark and Robert Jack invest Denny and Joey with a captivating intensity as old loyalties are corrupted at both a personal and professional level for both men. Blighted by personal demons and unspoken tensions that threaten to blow up in their faces, as the pair switch between their versions of the truth, at moments it's as if they're giving evidence to internal affairs, at others as if they're confessing their sins, desperate for some kind of atonement.

Inspired in part by an incident involving real-life serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, there is clearly a movie full of pained silences and longing looks waiting to burst out of Huff's script that transcends its roots for a close-up of emotional wounds. As it stands, however, the play's strength comes through its torrent of words. As Denny and Joey's criss-crossing monologues gather steam, they rise into a torrent of self-loathing which, for one of the men, at least, finally subsides into a raging calm in a quietly thrilling experience.

The Herald, September 19th 2016

ends

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