Chicago Theater Review: THE DOWNPOUR (Route 66 Theatre Company at Greenhouse Theater Center)

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by Lawrence Bommer on September 28, 2014

in Theater-Chicago


With a justifiably extended run, Route 66 Theatre Company’s richly rewarding world premiere of Caitlin (A Twist of Water) Parrish’s The Downpour is a story as sweet as it is scary—no easy feat in writing or staging. But director Erica Weiss has a Midas touch, and Parrish’s tantalizingly twisting tale never lets up until its thoroughly satisfying ending—another not so easy feat.


How do you protect a loved one against a post-partum tragedy? It’s a question you’ll never ask again.

Not to give away the game, the story focuses on two sisters and the men in their roller-coaster lives. Not just a big sister but a surrogate mom, Robin (Brenda Barrie) was there for Hazel (Caroline Neff) when the world failed to care. The favor may not demand a return. But it could sure use one. Now a successful writer of children’s fiction (based on their own harrowing childhood), Hazel is partnered by Miller (Stef Tovar), a genial cop much like the good one in HBO’s Nurse Jackie. Robin is married to an equally caring lawyer named Fred (Peter Moore), who’s looking forward to their first kid.


But Hazel is not: The history that the Isaac siblings share is not all happy and, worse, not all past. Hazel has to worry about what might happen if Robin becomes more like the monster mom they barely escaped, Moving from Syracuse to Chicago, Hazel puts herself in a state of “watchful waiting.” It’s an apprehension that scares everyone around her almost as much as Hazel, whose reasons to fear soon prove well-founded.

Will a hard history repeat itself? Or will tough love somehow find a way? Will Hazel’s story of children in peril persist into the present? Join the sell-out crowds at the Greenhouse Theatre Center and find out why. These four completely committed performances should be preserved in amber. Seeing them is the next best thing.

photos by Brandon Dahlquist

The Downpour
Route 66 Theatre Company
Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N Lincoln Ave
Thurs and Fri at 8; Sat at 4 & 8; Sun at 2
scheduled to end on October 19, 2014
for tickets, call 773.404.7336 or visit
for more info, visit

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