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Miranda Wynne and Ashley Romans in Jon Brittain's Rotterdam at Skylight Theatre. (Photo by Ed Krieger)
Miranda Wynne and Ashley Romans in Jon Brittain’s Rotterdam at Skylight Theatre. (Photo by Ed Krieger)

Rotterdam 

Skylight Theatre 
Reviewed by Julio Martinez 
Extended through December 31 

RECOMMENDED 

Alice (Miranda Wynne) has been living in Rotterdam, a Dutch port city that people pass through on the way to something more permanent in their lives. She has been living there for seven years with her lover, Fiona (Ashley Romans), unable to tell her parents in England that she is a lesbian. But just as Alice finally gets the courage to e-mail mom and dad that she is gay, Fiona reveals she has always known she was a man born into a woman’s body, and she now want to live as a man, using the name Adrian.

As Fiona works her way through the medical and psychological changes while transitioning, Alice is unsteadily adjusting to witnessing the woman she loves slowly disappear. Observing this evolution is Alice’s former boyfriend Josh (Ryan Brophy), who also happens to be Fiona’s older brother. Still smarting from the loss of Alice, Josh observes, “I feel I’m watching a bad remake of a bad film.” Complicating Alice’s life even further is winsome co-worker Lelani, a hot-to-trot local girl who has been a lesbian since the age of ten and has zeroed in on Alice.

Played out amidst the serviceable modular new age set and lighting design of Jeff McLaughlin, Wynne and Romans embody the two millennial age lovers with zesty veracity that makes viable the overly lengthy, mildly redundant first act. Director Michael A Shepperd has infused the proceedings with an attractive physicality that softens Jon Brittain’s occasional heavy-handed expositional dialogue.

Wynne creates a humorous and sensual portrait of a young woman still attempting to come to terms with her homosexuality, while totally unprepared emotionally with the sudden change in her lover. While Wynne’s Alice is used to guarding the unraveling complications of her life, she becomes undone when Lelani cluelessly reveals one of Alice’s most guarded secrets. 

Romans’ evolution from Fiona to Adrian is hypnotizing in its effectiveness. This attractive woman doesn’t simply bind her breasts and put on men’s clothing, she truly appears to release her soul from bondage as the second act achieves a tangible veracity.   

Complementing the proceedings are Josh and Lelani. Brophy impressively inhabits the persona of this lighthearted humorous man who still carries a strong torch for Alice, while still protective of his younger sister. And Cain is delightful as the clear-eyed young lesbian who unabashedly wants to have fun, which decidedly includes bedding Alice.

Playwright Brittain has wrought a compelling new age love story that is enhanced by its transcendent casting. Director Sheppard has fashioned an attractive showcase; Nailaa Aladdin Sanders’ costumes are play perfect.     

 

Skylight Theatre, 1816 N. Vermont Ave.,  Hollywood, Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m., Sunday, 2pm., Extended through Dec. 31; (213) 761-7061 or www.skylighttix.com. running time 120 minutes with one intermission.

 

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