ROUGH CROSSING, SHEFFIELD LYCEUM
A touring production of a rarely-performed play by Tom Stoppard has arrived in Sheffield.
Adapted from a comedy by Ferenc Molnar it has music and songs written by Andre Previn.
It's clear that Stoppard had a lot of fun writing about two dramatists, a composer and a group of actors aboard a luxury cruise ship bound for New York where their as yet unfinished comedy is due to be performed.
The cast have a lot of fun too. John Partridge (Turai, the more dominant of the writers) has a languid Noel Coward-like quality. Rob Ostlere (Adam the composer) elicits sympathy as the struggles with a speech impediment and is plunged into despair when he overhears Natasha, the woman with whom he is in love (played with energy and zest by Issy van Randwyk) flirting with Ivor, one of the older actors.
The action hinges on the efforts of Turai to persuade Adam that he in fact overheard Natasha and Ivor rehearsing the ending of the play.
Stoppard adds a part that brings the whole thing together. Dvornichek is a waiter who has yet to discover his sea legs but whose good humour and inventiveness outstrip the abilitities of all the other socially more sophisticated characters. Charlie Stemp brings his own inimitable charm to the part played by Michael Kitchen in the original production.
The set designed by Colin Richmond is a delight.