Captivating and comedic, Skylight Theatre's production of Jon Brittain's play "Rotterdam"—directed by Michael A. Shepperd—brings up questions of identity and compromise.
On New Years in Rotterdam, Alice has finally worked up the nerve to come out—via email—to her parents. However, after letting her girlfriend Fi read her touching note, Fi decides to come out with some news of her own—she's always identified as a man and wants to live as one. Now the two of them must navigate what this means for their relationship.
This surprisingly funny show is fueled by fantastic performances. Miranda Wynn is a sympathetic Alice. Our hearts break for her as she tries to be supportive, while also trying to maintain some sense of who she is. Audrey Cain is strategically seductive as the wide-eyed Lelani who knows exactly what she wants when pursuing Alice. Ashley Romans is phenomenal as Fi/Adrian (the name she takes when she decides to present herself as a man). She beautifully demonstrates Adrian's struggle and frustrations, and shows that the character has such a wonderful capacity for love. Making his LA debut is current USC Dramatic Arts senior Ryan Brophy, who plays the lovable Josh: supportive brother and softhearted ex-boyfriend. Brophy brings much light and laughter to the production, and is a joy to watch.
Between the first and second act, there is no discernible difference between Fi and Adrian, which beautifully demonstrates how coming out as a man doesn't change who Adrian is as a person. He is who he's always been, the only thing that has changed is his pronouns. However, it is the prospect of external changes that poses the greatest challenge for the couple. For Alice, who is attracted to women, being with a man would change her identity as a lesbian. This story presents a question for couples, gay and straight alike. How much do you compromise your own identity and wants for your partner?
The transitional pop Dutch music (Christopher Moscatiello) and Technicolor lights (Jeff McLaughlin) are effective in creating an atmosphere far too young and hip for Josh and Adrian, who feel that the time has come to leave Rotterdam. The transformational set (also Laughlin) delights audiences as beds fold out of walls and work desks transform into bars. Tuffet Schmelzle is the one to thank for the casts' brilliant British and Dutch accents.
"Rotterdam" will be playing at the Skylight Theatre until December 11th. Tickets are available online at SkylightTix.com General Admission $15 – $4. Reserved: $41 Adults: $35. Seniors: $29. Under 30: $25 Students & Previews: $15 – $20.