Book Review: Rotterdam by Jon Brittain

Title: Rotterdam

Author: Jon Brittain

Genre: GLBTQIA+ Plays

Number of Pages: 120

Rating: C

Recommended?: No

Blah. The characters in this play are so unlikable and about 90% is people fighting. The premise (a lesbian couple breaking apart at the seams when one of them comes out as a trans man) could have been really good if it was handled better.

The cis woman, Alice, lives with her lover Adrian (formerly Fiona) in Holland but she really hates living there. She doesn’t bother to learn the language and the culture and can’t wait to get out of there. She’s trying to gather up the courage to come out to her parents when Adrian drops a bombshell; he’s a man.

He wants to transition but Alice grows less and less attracted to him as his body becomes increasingly masculine. The whole play is about transgender issues, and it’s fairly didactic at parts. The characters are built entirely upon how they react to the situation and the main conflict of Alice’s changing feelings towards Adrian is never really resolved.

The characters are self-centered and obnoxious and make dumb decisions that don’t make much sense. Adrian actually has the nerve to tell Alice she’s not a lesbian because she’s ‘only been in love with men.’ I mean, what the fuck? Like being transgender gives him the automatic right to tell her what she is.

All my sympathy for him went out the window after that and it’s safe to say that he grated on my nerves long before that. If you want a good play about a transgender person I recommend Overflow by Travis Alabanza. I’ve read Hir, Pronoun, this and Overflow and in my opinion Overflow is the only one that’s actually any good.

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