Just to be fair - I´ll make this the post for ALL the Broadwayworld. com
These people don´t sound like the bitchy just for the sake of bitching people, so it might be interesting to read their comments after all. I am still irritated, that none of the tweets has said ANYTHING about the play not being great in itsself.
They are ALL very positive about the acting with maybe a slight advantage for Dan, but continue to be sceptical about the play.
THIS IS what irritates me - how can this turn into a not well written play?
They have the best creative talent and written words are written words. That doesn´t change.
A STEADY RAIN, developed at the NY Stage and Film Powerhouse Mainstage in 2006, played to critical acclaim during its sold-out 6-week run at Chicago Dramatists in 2007 and received Jeff Awards for New Work and Best Production in 2008.
this (a few changes here) over on ATC: One thing - this is NOT two guys giving alternating monologues. There is a far amount of dialogue here - however, it is more like two guys recounting a story to an audience, with the other chiming in where appropriate. It's very clear that each of the characters has details that he other does not, and all those various details come out within the context of the play. The play itself - way too much happened to be believable in the course of one summer in two mens lives. My first impression of the play was as if two action movie superstars were making a complex pitch of a new type of "cop buddy" film to skeptical studio bosses (the audience). Perhaps I would have felt differently had the actors not been action movie superstars.... After a while the technique did grow on me - I felt like I was privy to one of those evenings when several old friends get together and retell stories form "back in the day" except in this telling, they were both giving details that most people would have kept secret. An interesting storytelling technique - my argument was there was too much of the amazing action cop movie stuff and not so much character revelation. I thought the staging was particularly effective - use of the opposite sides of the playing area, when the characters crossed into "the other's space" it was always for a defined, motivated reason. I thought both actors did a very passable job - I'm considering going to see it again near the end of the run to see how much they evolve the characters. As it stands right now, I did not expect both men to have fully fleshed out their roles yet - they each have about 45 minutes of dialogue to memorize, plus some fairly subtle blocking (most of which worked for me). They seem to be in a good place vis-a-vis the process, assuming that they'll continue to grow into their characters through previews. The alleys lurking in the background worked for me very well - reminded me more of the Bronx than north side Chicago - especially now that most of Cabrini is gone - maybe it was supposed to be the Henry Horner Housing projects - not sure. Two things absolutely didn't work for me - hopefully they'll resolve it. One was the visual of the woods - I'm not sure why but that pulled me right out of the story and placed me back in the theater - maybe it was too massive for a wooded area in or near Chicago. The other was more of a problem with the script - Aside from the over abundance of improbable action described by the characters - I found the concept of "A Steady Rain" seemingly lost other than a few passing mentions. Frankly, the only reference to the rain which really made sense was the throw away joke about moving to Seattle... I never made a solid connection as to why the rain was so important to the story - important enough to call it "A Steady Rain". I don't know, perhaps I'm just dense - but I think if there were more "it never rains but it pours" type cliche's, or something. Overall it was an enjoyable evening. There was a lot of details the needed tweaking (very uneven sound mix, especially with Daniel Craig, but it's very early in the process for that to be evened out.) The end of the evening? My wife and I spent as much time talking about the character's story as we did about the production itself (we're both in theater). I always find it satisfying when a show makes you want to talk it over afterward.
who falls into the camp of, "Yeah, Hugh Jackman's great, but what is with all of the obsession and hype around him?", I found his performance absolutely tremendous last night. I enjoyed his performance a LOT, thought Daniel Craig was good too, and would give the play itself a B-. However, the direction was intensely riveting at the right moments, and really impressed me as well. I understand why thoughts on this thread are a little gray, and not black or white.
clear to me from the beginning that Craig was wearing a detective uniform and badge, and Jackman wasn't so I kind of figured that he would be the "last man standing" as mentioned many times. It is also the theater - you do not have to be logical, just theatrically appropriate, which I thought it was. Both performances were riveting. I think Craig has the harder job because it's less showy, but extraordinarily complex.
with most of the thoughts already posted. Great acting and use of set, but not a great play.
asked about the stagedoor: I saw the matinee today and both actors came out briefly. There was a HUGE crowd, and there were barricades on both sides of the stage door. At first the barricades blocked off a path for people to walk by on the building-side of the sidewalk, and then right before Daniel Craig came out (he came out first), they added a barricade perpendicular to the building to block the sidewalk off altogether. I lost my good spot because people then filled in that space. I'm sure that makes no sense, and I'm sorry, it's difficult to describe. But there were a LOT of people.
on the first night but didn't have Internet access:
The audience was a bit annoyingly squealy in the beginning, the entrance applause lasted way too long, and one jackass took a flash photo early on, but the play is somber stuff and the exuberance quickly died down. (I fully admit I was in a Grinchy mood that night.)
Anyway, as far as the play goes, without its stars I would have been shocked if it caught someone's eye as a potential Broadway transfer. It's not bad, but it's not amazing, either. Then again, the far worse Coram Boy came in from London, so what do I know. I really don't get why this play, of all things, caught Craig's eye, but what the hell. *shrug* Maybe because it's such an actors' showcase - a two-character one-act with a set that consists of nothing but two chairs and a backdrop. Craig and Jackman have to hold the audience with pretty much nothing but their voices for 90 minutes, and they succeed admirably.
The events the two characters are recalling throughout are hugely melodramatic, and I think it's the alternating-monologues format that keeps the play from entering Titus Adronicus horribleness territory. But the format is also a limitation that Huff runs up against a few times when he makes Joey and Denny use somewhat poetic descriptive language. Those characters would never talk that way, and with virtually no set, that can make it tough for the playwright to paint a picture in the minds of the audience. But he still should have stayed within characters' voices.
I wish I'd been sitting closer than I was so I could catch more of Craig's performance - my eyesight just isn't up to catching finer facial expressions from the mezzanine, and the part of Joey is the quieter one of the two. The casting is the reverse of what you'd expect, as everyone's been saying, but both actors find their ways into their characters anyway. The material they're working with isn't the best, but they really are good theatrical craftsmen, and that's a pleasure to see.
Jackman's accent wandered a bit, but when it did he went into a flat American newscaster's accent, not an Australian one, so it wasn't too bad. And he never suffered from the strangled, affectless intonation that strikes so many actors who use so much of their headspace on maintaining an accent they don't have resources to spare for actual acting. He had some great acting moments that pretty much consisted of just a change in vocal timbre. Craig had a greater tendency to get mumbly enough for me to have a hard time making out the words, but his accent was almost totally consistent.
Both actors did some fantastic body acting - Jackman can convey a world of hostility and rage just by standing still and wordless on the side of the stage, and Craig did a good job seeming physically cowed by him when necessary.
I think their chemistry is going to get better with time, but even now they had an easy finish-each-other's-sentences rapport that occasionally rose to make them more than the sum of their parts. Their comedy timing together is solid. And the reversed casting isn't really that much of a hindrance - Jackman's tremendous underlying charm and charisma might be the only thing that can keep the audience from turning on his utter bastard of a character. He plays Denny completely unapologetically and counts on it to work, and it does. Joey's bastardry sneaks up on you more.
What frustrated me a bit about this play is that underneath there, the skeleton of the show is very solid. The changing relationship between Joey and Denny is an interesting one, and they're interesting characters. The writing just isn't...quite there. (See, this is why I failed as an English major.) But you can see why Joey would follow Denny so far down his path of self-destruction, and how Denny self-immolates over the course of a summer.
Anyway, if you don't like to hear about bad things happening to children, don't get anywhere near this play. The audience was gasping in shock multiple times, and by the end there was a palpable sense of dread as everyone wondered what awful thing was going to befall Joey and Denny next. But thankfully, that also stopped the squealing and picture-taking cold so the evening was about the play and the acting, not the leading men's chests. Which you don't get to see, unfortunately - the most skin they show is their forearms.
response to Plum's post above. I also found the staging to be very well thought out. Each actor had a clearly defined space and when that space was invaded it certainly heightened the drama. One of my favorite moments was when Joey sat down in Denny's chair.
to say that I thought that it was pretty good. The acting excelled the actual script, especially Daniel Craig in my opinion. Being in the orch, row c, centre, gave us an exceptional view and an insight into not just A Steady Rain, but just really how worthy both actors are, of their star billing.
honest I think I could sit through it again, the 90 mins didnt seem to drag at all. As for the seating, being tall, I didnt have too much discomfort, unlike at the New Amsterdam, where I found it a little cramped.
my wife loved it so much,
ive bought her tickets to see it again, on thursday evening. we're off too see jersey boys on weds night, so its a busy week.!