“The Rainmaker” Review – Corny Can Be Good and Fun

(L to R) Steve Key and Linsey Page Morton

 

Steve Key could sure give Burt Lancaster, the star of the 1950’s film of “The Rainmaker”, a run for his money.   Actually all seven of the cast members assembled by Director Edward Blatchford seem so well-matched with their parts that it got this reviewer rustling through the program notes to see if there was an added casting expert for this production. 

 

(L to R) Matt Pratt, Danny Goldring, Linsey Page Morton and Vince Teninty

 

This is a homespun style story of a ranch family whose livestock are being whittled away by a drought.  The action unfolds with the innocence of an imagined time and space when cars were new and life seemed far less complicated.   The drought is taking a heavy toll but the bigger concern of the two brothers—elder Noah (Vincent Teninty) and baby brother Jim (Matt Pratt) –and their gentle father (Danny Goldring) is whether sister/daughter Lizzie (Linsey Page Morton) has any marriage prospects. 

 

The Rainmaker 1 from American Blues Theater on Vimeo.

 

The lonely sheriff’s deputy, File (Howie Johnson), has just stood Lizzie and family up for dinner.   How provident that a man claiming to be a rainmaker, Starbuck (Steve Key) walks uninvited into the house and sees an extra plate on the dinner table.  Against the protests of his daughter and eldest son, the father insists on hiring the rainmaker at a pretty penny. 

 

The Rainmaker 2 from American Blues Theater on Vimeo.

 

It’s not much of a spoiler to say that it does finally rain because that is both predictable and more of a footnote to the real story, which is about family dynamics, love and loneliness.   

 

(L to R) Steve Key, Linsey Page Morton and Vince Teninty

 

American Blues Theater, that brings us an annual re-mount of “It’s a Wonderful Life”, seems to have a penchant for these type stories that are downright corny and clichéd if you think about them too much.  But why bother!  Just enjoy the way the way the actors ham up the country, especially Robert Breuler as the Sheriff, the neat and clever fold away set (Scenic Design:  Sarah Ross), and feel Steve Key’s charisma.

 

Bottom line: Take this play on its own terms and enjoy the fun.

 

Now through September 27 at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago.

 

For tickets and information call 773.404.7336 or visit the American Blues Theater website 

 

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Photos courtesy of American Blues Theater 

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