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None Too Fragile’s ‘A Steady Rain’ is disturbingly honest

Two black chairs…this is the sum of the stage set for the None Too Fragile production of A Steady Rain now playing through November 11, 2017, and yet this is more than enough as the two actors use these scant props in order to create entire worlds in our minds.

Joey and Denny grew up together on the mean streets of Chicago, graduated high school together, went through the police academy together and have been partners ever since with dreams of passing the test for detective. One thing keeps them from this goal and that is their racially insensitive upbringing that flows unfiltered into their daily words and actions.

Of the two, Denny seems to have his life the most structured with a wife and family as he has made the single Joey a perennial dinner guest trying to steer his partner away from his heavy drinking. As the play progresses we find that years of working the streets has turned Denny into a prejudiced angry man and a bully who is supplementing his police income by shaking down pimps and prostitutes (from who along with the bribes he also takes advantage of by having carnal engagements with).

Denny has convinced himself that rather than being a monster he is actually a saint as he protects the hookers from their pimps as well as persecution by his fellow law enforcement fraternity. Through a series of monologues and two party narratives we see the steady decline into absolute chaos of Denny’s life and the resurrection of Joey’s who although he admits to his drinking problem is taking steps to eradicate the triggers for his nearly daily decent into the bottle.

A local pimp sends a message to Denny about his involvement with one of his girls by having his teenage brother smash the man’s windshield. Soon a turf war erupts between the two with attacks that end up involving Denny’s family. As Joey tries in vain to end the violence between the two the situation escalates to armed conflict turning Denny into a criminal.

This is definitely not a show for the faint of heart. The profanity and overly descriptive dialogue achieves a degree of shock value rarely seen on a Cleveland or Akron stage. Be forewarned as to the graphic details of this work.

With this being a two character play made up of dialogue there were brief moments of gaffs and stepped on lines but the true spirit of the play manages to shine forth. Chris Richards* as Joey plays the innocent but his character is not above moving in when a vacuum is created. Tony Zanoni as Denny carefully times his descent into hell as circumstances mount up against him. Director Robert Ellis does a fine job bringing out the tragedy and chaos while at the same time the redeeming attributes of the work.

*Member of Actors Equity Association

With all of the recent focus on police brutality (especially against people of color) this work has us asking the question “is it the man or the circumstances which has good cops turning bad” and what if anything can be done about it? This is raw theater that relies on words rather than props to get the message out but the viewing of this show comes with a price as we will carry certain parts of this play for some time to come.

The None Too Fragile production of Keith Huff’s A Steady Rain will be on stage through November 11, 2017. Tickets may be purchased online by going to or by calling (303) 962-5547.

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Who is Mark Horning?

Over the course of my life I have worked a variety of jobs including newspapers, retail camera sales and photography. Eight years ago I embarked on yet another career as writer. This included articles concerning sports and cultural events in Cleveland, Ohio as well reviews of the many theatrical productions around town. These days are spent photographing professional dance groups, theater companies and various galas and festivals as well as attending various stage performances and posting reviews about them.  

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