Rough Crossing, Chichester Festival Theatre, review: ‘Lost a lot of the momentum’

As I walked into the theatre and saw an Art Deco boat standing in front of me, I had a feeling of déjà vu. There was something very Anything Goes about it – but also reminiscent of the Titanic musical.

Tuesday, 12th February 2019, 8:33 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th February 2019, 9:39 am
Rough Crossing is at Chichester Festival Theatre until February 16.

In fact, this play turned out to have elements of both; a comedy of errors with a light sprinkling of musical numbers and a tempestuous voyage. 

It follows the attempt of two playwrights to save the romance between their composer and leading lady before they dock in New York for the opening night of their latest musical, which is not finished. Unlike in most comedy of errors, where one innocent conversation is mistaken for something else, the convention is flipped on its head here.

Composer Adam hears correctly when his love Natasha is being seduced by an old flame – but it is up to Turai (John Partridge) and Gal to convince him they were just rehearsing for the play.

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By the interval, I was used to the rhythm and tone of Tom Stoppard’s play and I was looking forward to hilarity ensuing.

But the second half lost a lot of the momentum. The play became much more verbose and with everyone’s dialogue at a thousand words a minute it just became white noise to me. I found my attention beginning to slip until a couple of dance numbers brought me back to the present. 

For fans of this play, I would recommend it; the quality of the production is not an issue.

Until February 16.