When researching the history of Tom Stoppard’s Rough Crossing you come across a range of predominately negative feedback. It seems that Stoppard’s work tends to divide the British public more than pineapple on a pizza or whether its jam or cream first on a scone, but the real question is, how is the latest adaptation of this 1985 play fairing on its new UK tour?
As a luxury liner steams its way across the Atlantic, Turai and Gal try frantically to finish their play in time for its New York opening. The future of the show depends on the music of a young composer who’s lost his muse. His muse, the show’s leading lady, seems to be rekindling an old flame with an aged and untalented leading man. Add lifeboat drills, the dramatic criticism of a cognac-tippling steward and other storms at sea for a fast-moving 1930s-style screwball farce.
The thing about Rough Crossing is that it’s incredibly easy. It’s easy to watch, it’s easy to enjoy and it’s filled with a range of easy jokes which are almost guaranteed to make you smile. The only thing which wasn’t easy about this production was Dvornichek’s impressively long and complicated monologues.
Dvornichek is the previously mentioned cognac-tippling steward who’s charming and yet simple character was portrayed effortlessly by West End superstar Charlie Stemp. Whilst the entire cast gave enjoyable performances, I couldn’t help but feel as though the production would have greatly suffered without Charlie. He’s cheeky, he’s charming and he brings an undeniable lovability to every role he takes. This may have been his first play, but he couldn’t have looked more at ease if he tried. A practically perfect performance from the future Mary Poppins star.
The comedy may begin to run a little dry in act two, but Rough Crossing is a charming production which seems to fit perfectly on a sunny afternoon in Bath. Whilst it is defiantly worth a watch, I wouldn’t necessarily rush back to buy a second ticket any time soon.
Review Date: 27/02/2019
Cast: John Partridge, Charlie Stemp, Vicki Davids, Matthew Cottle, Rob Ostlere and Simon Dutton.
Images courtesy of Google Images.