Rotterdam - Theatre Review

By Annette Semerdjian

Ashley Romans and Miranda Wynne
The UK hit "Rotterdam" makes its West Coast premiere at Skylight Theatre for night of hilarity and fun as well as food for thought. What makes this production, produced by Gary Grossman, unique, aside from tackling themes that are still considered taboo, is that it engages the audience to take the conversation beyond the play. Not only did the production address the journey toward identity in gender and sexuality respectively, but Skylight Theatre also included a talk after the show with transgender activists. Members of the audience not only got a great show but also got to talk with trans folk about specific struggles of coming out and living as trans. Playwright Joshua Gershick moderated the conversation, which was open to the audience as well, with activist Alexis Sanchez.

English writer Jon Brittain's "Rotterdam" is a story about discovering oneself that is relatable and heartwarming. Award-winning director Michael A. Sheppard tells the story in an innovative and fresh way by incorporating music and staging as an integral part of shifting scenes, allowing the story to flow without pause.

The story starts with Alice, played by the hilarious Miranda Wynne, thinking about finally coming out to her parents and drafts an email to do just that. The person Alice knew as her girlfriend, Fiona, reads the email which prompts another coming out -- this time as a transman named Adrian, well-played in an evocative performance by Ashley Romans. Yet, as Alice learns to understand that the person she was with for seven years is man, she learns to come to terms with her own identity as a lesbian and how not fully embracing that key part of her identity caused trouble in knowing how to love and accept others. Alice starts to experience new things with the guidance of her new friend Lelani that lends a hand at discovering herself.

Audrey Cain plays the playful and unintentionally insightful Lelani in a very funny and well-played performance that often added comic relief. Ryan Brophy plays Alice's best friend, Josh, whose loving nature lends support to her and Adrian while also being light-hearted.

The Olivier Award-Winning show is now extended through December 31 and is the perfect show to see for a night of great theater. It is such a topical and engaging story that brings the human experience in all its shapes and forms to life the way only the Skylight Theatre can produce.

Listen to behind the scenes interviews here:

Posted By Annette Semerdjian on November 27, 2017 10:22 am | Permalink