Bethan Cullinane as Alice and Lucy Jane Parkinson as Fiona/Adrian in Rotterdam

REVIEW | Rotterdam | UK Tour

After winning the Olivier award back in 2017, Jon Brittain’s Rotterdam is a striking production that looks at gender in an intimate, honest and thought-provoking way.

We meet Alice, a young woman struggling to come out to her parents and her girlfriend Fiona who admits to Alice that she has always identified as a man and wants to continue her life as Adrian. Tackling the mental conflict of being transgender and coming to terms with transitioning and the strains it has on their relationship. 

It’s an LGBT+ story that tells an fascinating story. With the rise of programmes like the hugely successful Pose on BBC, transgender stories are starting to be told and this representation is incredibly important. Rotterdam tells this story in a really contemporary and compelling way that tackles the themes head on with a multitude of emotions, humour and authenticity.

The complexity of the characters is all wrapped into a production carved with brilliant humour and emotions that resonate. Theatre is made to entertain and to inform and Jon Brittain’s play does that beautifully as it opens your eyes to different perspectives. Lucy Jane Parkinson gives a masterclass performance in role of Fiona/Adrian. She is honest, raw and delicate in her portrayal as she gives a really moving performance. Particular moments like when she is seen as a man for the first time, or a breakdown she suffers when she feels conflicted with her identity, these highs and lows of emotions are displayed in a really human way.

Bethan Cullinane as Alice and Lucy Jane Parkinson as Fiona/Adrian in Rotterdam
Bethan Cullinane as Alice and Lucy Jane Parkinson as Fiona/Adrian in Rotterdam

Opposite her as Alice, Bethan Cullinane is endearing as the young woman trying to be patient and understanding who is grieving for her girlfriend and learning to love Adrian. Cullinane is a sublime actor and her comedy timing is gold, she is witty and sarcastic but warm and caring and you really feel for her throughout the production. 

The small cast of four really command the stage. Elijah W Harris is terrific as Fiona/Adrian’s brother who acts as the mediator throughout the story. Ellie Morris brings heaps of energy as the party girl Lelani who leads Alice into temptation.  

It’s fantastic to see the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre experimenting with their programming and bringing in a modern and relevant play that will attract new audiences to the theatre. 

Rotterdam is an intimate production that packs a real punch as it takes on the important themes of gender, sexuality and identity in an emotionally charged way that is bound to take your breath away.

On at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre until 24 April, tickets and information can be found here.

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