I was mightily impressed by Jon Brittain’s Rotterdam when it premiered at Theatre503 last November. So much so that I included it in the list of “My Top 10 new plays of 2015”. So, once again, when the transfer was announced, I pestered the producers to let me come back and run this Q&A. I’m just a little excited that they said yes!
Following a highly successful run last autumn at Theatre503, Jon Brittain’s Rotterdam now transfers to Trafalgar Studios. Anna Martine (The Nether), Alice McCarthy (Boris: World King), Ed Eales-White (Strap In – It’s Clever Peter) and Jessica Clark (The Events) reprise their roles in this poignant and highly comic production.
Alice wants to come out as a lesbian. Her girlfriend Fiona wants to start living as a man. It’s New Year in Rotterdam, and Alice has finally plucked up the courage to email her parents and tell them she’s gay. But before she can hit send, Fiona reveals that he has always identified as a man and now wants to start living as one named Adrian. Now, as Adrian begins his transition, Alice must face a question she never thought she’d ask… does this mean she’s straight?
Rotterdam is a bittersweet comedy about gender, sexuality and being a long way from home by acclaimed writer Jon Brittain, co-creator of Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho, and writer of What Would Spock Do? and The Sexual Awakening of Peter Mayo.
“Brittain’s play is another reminder – warm, witty and wise – of the stupidity of thinking that there are only two genders” – Time Out
Director Donnacadh O’Briain comments: “There’s something really special about this play, and about the cast who brought it to life. Audiences were incredibly taken with it, I’ve rarely seen a reception like we had at Theatre503. We were entirely sold out a day or two after press night so it’s fantastic to be able to bring it back to a wider audience. I think it’s a must see and I’m not biased at all.”
Jon Brittain was inspired to write Rotterdam after a couple of his friends transitioned in the late 2000s. He became aware of the absence of transgender stories in pop culture and wanted to address this on the stage. Through writing this show, he researched and consulted widely, including talking to numerous trans people and their partners, conducting readings for members of the trans communities and discussing the show with various parties who were all supportive, including Trans Media Watch who then endorsed Rotterdam.