Rough Crossing at The Lowry
Entering the auditorium, you cannot miss the SS Italian Castle. She dominates the stage – an impressive design by Colin Richmond. The ship is headed for New York, amongst its passengers two successful Hungarian playwrights Sandor Turai and Alex Gal rehearsing their latest show - The Cruise of the Dodo - before their opening night in the Big Apple. Rough Crossing is Tom Stoppard’s 1984 comedy wherein an overheard confession leads to a confusion of assumption.
It is unclear at first exactly who is who and why they are on the ship, a fact not missed by Stoppard, as 15 minutes in he mentions exactly that scenario and introduces ship steward Dvornichek to fast track through a full history synopsis. Charlie Stemp is excellent as Dvornichek. His impeccable comedic timing and cheeky smile light up the stage. Matthew Cottle offers a natural, solid performance as Gal providing a much needed balance against Partridge as Turai, who oddly spends the evening shouting every line and never goes below a level of ouch. The production looks impressive, but so did the Titanic; a fan of Stoppard, I left disappointed.
A rough crossing indeed.
Garry Thomas-Lowde for Canal St Online
Lyric Theatre, Lowry: Feb 18th – 23rd 2019