Rotterdam

Its New Year in Rotterdam, and Alice has finally plucked up the courage to email her parents and tell them shes gay. But before she can hit send, her girlfriend reveals that he has always identified as a man and now wants to start living as one. Now Alice must face a question she never thought shed ask . . . does this mean she’s straight?

Richard Williamson’s lighting provides a colourful, bright and loud backdrop, alongside Ellan Parry’s design of a thrust staging with Ellan Parry’s design starting simplistic and becoming crowded as Alice becomes more confused and scattered.

The versatile set, burdened by three swing both way doors, switches from a flat, to an office, to nightclub with the aid of the actors moving props. The boxed shelving and printed walls, featuring images of the city skyline, suggest the anonymity of a holiday flat, to remind us that Alice’s seven year stay in Rotterdam was only meant to be temporary.

Keegan Curran’s sound design was sleek and rife with symbolism. As each character entered, a different song would play. Alice McCarthy’s Alice was a score with a little bit of every genre; swapping from a heavy bass electronic to an acoustic guitar seamlessly. Anna Martine’s Fiona/Adrian was an upbeat cheerful song. Jessica Clark’s Lelani was the only song with lyrics: Ik Wil Met Je Sexen by De Kraaien. Finally, Ed Eales-White’s Josh entered on the instrumental of Lelani’s song.

As Alice rejects Adrian and goes to the club where she passionately kissed Lelani on one half of the stage, whilst on the other half we watch as Adrian strips his ‘masculine’ clothing, his binder and changes into a dress, heels and attempts to apply lipstick whilst on his knees , the lyrics of Robyn’s ‘Dancing on my Own’ says what the characters cannot. An acoustic version of the same song by Calum Scott is echoed later once Alice realises her mistake and tries to go back to Adrian.

The cast are engaging and peppy and throughly watchable. Alice McCarthy’s Alice’s indecisiveness is both relatable and frustrating.  Jessica Clark’s Lelani is spunky and sweet yet has a problem with boundaries. Ed Eales-White’s Josh is wide-eyed and bushy tailed, causing annoyance with him until the end when he finally sticks up for himself against Alice’s manipulation. Anna Martine as Fiona/Adrian shines; delicately keeping the audience and the characters informed with the correct phrases and pronounces as well as being convincing in his confusion, his joy and his despair.

Playwright: Jon Brittain
Director: Donnacadhs O’Briain
Associate Director: Roxy Cook
Designer: Ellan Parry
Lighting Design: Richard Williamson
Sound Design: Keegan Curran
Cast: Alice McCarthy, Anna Martine, Jessica Clark, Ed Eales-White

Photo: Piers Foley Photography

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