Like most people, when I heard that Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig were going to appear together on Broadway, I didn't really care about the show itself. I just wanted to see Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig.
As for the vehicle that brought this hot pair to Broadway, well, let's just say that playwright Keith Huff is one lucky man. If it hadn't been for Jackman and Craig, this contrivance of a play would likely never have made it beyond his hometown of Chicago.
It's become a cliche to say, "I could watch so-and-so read the phone book." I would imagine that, for most people, that phrase represents hyperbole. There are certain actors I admire greatly, but in truth I would never be able to watch any of them read the Manhattan Yellow Pages.
Well, as a play, A Steady Rain is certainly a step above the phone book. But not a big step. As I said it my Twitter post right after I got out of the play, "Clumsy play, rife with unconvincing melodrama + two hot guys = $130.00"
As for the performances, Daniel Craig reveals himself as a remarkably versatile and nuanced actor, immersing himself entirely in his character. Hugh Jackman was fine, but I find I must repeat what a number of my fellow bloggers have said about his performance here: it's hard to forget that he's Hugh Jackman. Whether that's a function of the level of his super-stardom or a reflection of his acting abilities, well, I'm not sure I really care. He certainly looked great in a pair of chinos.
[SPOILER ALERT: I'll be revealing a key plot point later in this review. If you already have your ticket and don't want to spoil the surprise, you might want to read the rest of this review subsequently]
The play concerns two childhood friends who have entered the police force and become partners. (Don't get too excited: I mean "partners" as in "working the same beat." But wouldn't that have been cool?) Huff's dialog has a certain idiomatic flair, but he seems to have been hellbent on cramming in as many plots developments as he could manufacture, without regard for balance and credibility.Not content to merely tell a story of two men whose lives are developing in a way that forces them to make some very difficult decisions, Huff crafts A Steady Rain with an inexorable momentum toward tragedy, and the results are unsatisfying. Particularly difficult to swallow was a plot revelation that represented a fictionalized account of a certain well known serial killer who disposed of his victims in a rather culinary way. ("Swallow" was an unintended pun, I assure you, but upon rereading this post, I decided to leave it in. I considered it in keeping with the way this play left a bad taste in my mouth. Er...I mean...) There's also an unnecessarily manipulative use of a puppy as a plot device, which literally had me groaning, as did the show's ultimate denouement.
Rumor has it that the entire run for A Steady Rain is sold out, but that's not true. A quick check to Telecharge reveals that there are indeed tickets left for a number of upcoming performances. If you, like me, are purely interested in seeing these two guys on stage, and you've got $130.00 to spare, then the questionable quality of the play itself will be unlikely to deter you. Just don't expect anything more than two iconic stars doing their best with overwrought material.