03:02PM, Friday 01 February 2019
There’s no one on stage when the curtain goes up, just the art deco lines of an ocean liner – but it’s such a beautiful set, the audience breaks into applause.
We’re all aboard for Rough Crossing, a witty, pretty comedy about love, passion, acting, and acting up.
Loosely based on Ferenc Molnár’s Play at the Castle and featuring music composed by Andre Previn, Tom Stoppard’s play was first performed in 1984.
Set on an ocean liner crossing to New York, the absurdist drama involves playwrights Alex Gal and Sandor Turai, their highly strung composer Adam Adam, glamorous leading lady Natasha, emotional leading man Ivor Fish and a remarkable waiter named Dvornichek (or Murphy for convenience).
Director Rachel Kavanaugh has decked out the action with plenty of physical comedy and Stoppard’s brilliant lines come in waves – I loved Adam’s delayed reaction syndrome with him responding to questions out-of-sync with hilarious results.
John Partridge is assured as the suave Turai while Matther Cottle mkes a great foil as the ever-hungry Gal.
Rising star musical theatre star Charlie Stemp shimmers as Dvornichek and shows off his dancing skills while Issy Van Randwyck also shines in the musical moments.
Rob Ostlere and Simon Dutton provide first-rate support as lovelorn Adam and lustful Ivor.
The stylish deco set, designed by Colin Richmond, deserved its spontaneous clap from the audience.
First night in Windsor was also the tour launch and there were a few instances where the actors could have left longer gaps for laughter or applause. Some of the meta moments mean you do have to concentrate or be cast adrift.
But Rough Crossing sails along in splendid style – it’s pure, ocean-going, copper-bottomed class.
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