"A visually stylish light-hearted comedy"
by Jill Lawrie for remotegoat on 12/02/19

Prolific playwright Tom Stoppard left school at 17 and within a decade had completed his first full length play “A Walk on the Water” and 20 years on “Rough Crossing” was finalised. A close friend of his for many years Andre Previn provided the musical score. Previn is referred to as “the least pretentious man in the world” and in a career spanning 70 years receiving numerous Academy Award nominations, 4 Oscars and 10 Grammy Awards he will forever be remembered for his memorable appearance on the Morecombe & Wise Christmas Show in 1971.

Loosely based on Ferenc Molnar’s “Play at the Castle” Stoppard’s “Rough Crossing” is now touring the UK until mid-April. Written in 1984 but set in the 1930’s, this light-hearted play-within-a-play is punctuated with Stoppard’s clever wordplay and rekindles the opulent days of glamorous transatlantic travel.

Having boarded SS Italian Castle, two well-known playwrights Turai and Gal have to finesse their play “The Cruise of the Dodo” in readiness for the Broadway premiere and intend rehearsing during the voyage. The two actors were former lovers but now the leading lady is engaged to the young composer, also on board. However the one time lovers are overheard rekindling their amorous past, giving the distraught composer suicidal thoughts. Turai comes to the rescue by turning it around as a new ending for the play and thus all was merely a rehearsal!

Colin Richmond (Designer) has excelled with a most imposing split-level set, the centrepiece depicting part of a lavish ocean-going liner. John Partridge heads the cast as playwright Turai. John needs no introduction having joined the cast of “Cats” at the age of 16, has numerous West End credits, was a recent winner of Masterchef and played an award-winning role as Christian Slater in Eastenders. He gives a strong performance with his trademark charisma. Matthew Cottle ably supports as the other playwright Gal who has a penchant for food. Issy Van Randwyck admirably provides the glamour as leading lady Natasha with Charlie Stemp returning to Chichester and again directed by Rachel Kavanaugh. He made a spectacular success of his first leading role when Cameron Mackintosh cast him as Arthur Kipps in “Half A Sixpence” at Chichester, to be followed by a West End transfer. He brings great comic timing to his farcical role as the haphazard Dvornichek repeatedly denying Turai his much requested glass of cognac!

There is plenty of enjoyment to be had from this amusing production dripping in innuendos and double-entendres, and finding much humour in the absurdity of the piece.

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