Directed by Patrick Thornton
produced by Modofac Productions
At Rivendell Theatre, Chicago
Gritty, realistic police procedural set in Chicago defines the contradictory nature of contemporary detectives.
Veteran Assistant Cook County States Attorney Jim Lynch has penned an intense and unpredictable police procedural play that reminds one of Keith Huff’s A Steady Rain but CCX, in its world premiere, focuses on detectives rather than patrol officers. Lynch, whose Irish play – The Tallest Man – was a polished and telling look at rural Ireland, once again demonstrates his storytelling and character development abilities. Lynch is a true seanchaí (storyteller) in that fine tradition. In a tight, flowing and intense production directed by Patrick Thornton, CCX finds two veteran Chicago Police detectives from Area 4 (the tough gang-infested West Side of Chicago) as they bring in an adult gang-banger and drug dealer for a street shooting that results in murder.
Sam Rollins (Henri Watkins) is the tough, unyielding African-American detective who uses threats, intimidation and guile to garner confessions as he rids the West Side of criminals. He is on the hot-seat since he clearance rate of homicides is near the bottom. Is he burned-out? His white younger partner Tommy Hennigan (Michael Hahalyak) is a recovering alcoholic with a violent streak. Their present case seems like a ‘slam-dunk’ since they have physical evidence on Lacroix Roquemore (David Lawrence Hamilton) as the shooter and Rita Cuneely) is an eye-witness. Open and shut – or is it?
This will be a standard clearance or will it become a CCX (Clear, Closed, Exceptional) – police code for cases that are resolved through unconventional means, or death of suspect? Once we witness Rollins’ interrogation techniques, we see that he uses any means, short of physicality to get a confession. Lynch’s knowledge and understanding of detectives is vividly depicted in his presentation of Sam Rollins – a burned-out street warrior who makes putting bad guys in jail his life passion making up for a failed personal life. Henri Watkins effectively portrays the intense cop.
Lynch also has a keen understanding of the gang-banger street thug after years of prosecuting them. He presents Lacroix as a complex and manipulative thug who slyly works both the criminal justice system and his cop handlers to his advantage – or does he?
We also see how Tommy uses a kind, almost sincere approach to interrogating his witness, Rita (Elizabeth Hope Williams) as he smoothly brakes down her story. Add revelations and references to past cases indirectly involving Lacroix and Rita, and we have a well-plotted and surprising turn of events. This whodunit is a suspenseful drama steeped in realism, smart street talk and totally believable fully-developed characters. You’ll get hooked into the story from the start and you’ll be on the edge of your seat in quantification of unfolding events. Ultimately, you’ll be satisfied and shocked at the outcome that definitely becomes a CCX case.
Jim Lynch is a talented playwright with a keen ear for street talk and a knack for character development. His works begs an audience. CCX is a powerful, in-your-face, Chicago style play filled with outstanding performances particularly by Henri Watkins and David Lawrence Hamilton. The complexity of police work in gang infested Chicago that becomes shades of gray in execution wherein the line between the good guys and the thugs becomes blurred is vividly presented in Lynch’s terrify play. Don’t miss it.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: March 7, 2013
For more info checkout the CCX page at theatreinchicago.com
At Rivendall Theatre,5779 N. Ridge Ave., Chicago, IL, tickets $15 – $25, Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm, sundaes at 5 pm, running time is 90 minutes without intermission, through March 31, 2013