Friday, June 2, 2017

Rotterdam

B

Brits Off Broadway at 59E59 Theaters is presenting Jon Brittain's Olivier-winning play about the effects of a transgender transition both on the person involved as well as on their relationships with others. Alice (Alice McCarthy) and Fiona (Anna Martine Freeman) are two English lesbians who have been living and working in Rotterdam for seven years. The dour, buttoned-up Alice is trying to summon the courage to come out to her parents via email, when Fiona announces that she henceforth wants to be known as Adrian. Josh (Ed Eales-White), Fiona/Adrian’s good-natured brother, who was Alice’s boyfriend before she met Fiona, is supportive of his sibling’s decision. Alice, however, has trouble figuring out what it all means, especially about her own gender identity. Lelani (Ellie Morris) is a free-spirited young Dutch colleague of Alice’s who takes a shine to her. As Fiona transitions to Adrian, tensions increase. Freeman is extremely moving in a second-act scene when Adrian is overwhelmed by events. My main problem with the play is that Alice is such an uptight sourpuss that it is hard to understand why anyone would want her. Also, there are plot developments near the end that seemed forced. At 2 1/2 hours, the play seemed a bit bloated. The clever, attractive set by Ellan Parry makes maximum use of a small stage; the costumes, especially for Lelani, are vivid. Donnacadh O’Brian directed. Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes including intermission.

1 comment:

P Ardell said...

I agree with you. I couldn't see what made Fiona/Adrian and Lelani feel they couldn't live without Alice, nor what made Josh follow her from England to the Netherlands. In the climax, Alice asserts herself with more self-assurance than she’d given hints of earlier; the final scene seemed like a regression for Alice from her hard-won self-confidence. When Lelani has the perfect opportunity--having read Alice's unsent email to her parents, which included an encomium to Fiona--she fails to question Alice about Fiona. Nonetheless, despite its contrivances, the play was well-paced, well-acted, and engaging.