Gail Rastorer and Alex Weisman star in "Rough Crossing" at First Folio Theatre | PHOTO BY MELISSA CARLSON
Updated: April 14, 2014 4:38PM
If you suffer from seasickness, you might consider taking a Dramamine tablet before heading off to “Rough Crossing,” Tom Stoppard’s perpetually listing, verbally dizzying, immensely clever shipboard farce, now in a First Folio Theatre production directed by Alison C. Vesely.
Stoppard based his play on Hungarian dramatist Ferenc Molnar’s “Play at the Castle” (for which another English-language version was devised in 1926 by P.G. Wodehouse, with the title “The Play’s the Thing”). Set in the early 1930s, aboard the S.S. Italian Castle, the story is about two famous playwrights, Sandor Turai and Alex Gal, who are on their way to New York, and are struggling to finish their latest musical hit.
Along with polishing their show, they also must maneuver around Adam Adam, a jealous composer; Natasha Navratalova, the leading lady he loves, and her lothario co-star, Ivor Fish. Aided by Dvornichek, the most inept steward ever to tread the deck of a cruise ship, the trio tries desperately to save both their show and their stars from disaster.
The First Folio cast includes Kevin McKillip, Rene Ruelas, Christian Gray, David Rice, Gail Rastorfer and Jeff-Award winner Alex Weisman (seen recently in “The Normal Heart” at TimeLine Theater). It also will feature three new Jazz Age-style songs set to Stoppard’s original lyrics and composed by Jeff Award-winner Christopher Kriz (“The Turn of the Screw”).
“Rough Crossing” runs through March 3 at the historic Mayslake Peabody Estate, located at 1717 W. 31st St., Oak Brook. For tickets ($30-$37) call (630) 986-8067 or visitfirstfolio.org. — Hedy Weiss, Theater Critic