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John Partridge and Charlie Stemp lead an all-star cast in Tom Stoppard's Rough Crossing

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

IN 2019, Bill Kenwright will be presenting a revival of Tom Stoppard’s Rough Crossing.

Written by Academy, Tony and Olivier award-winning Tom Stoppard (Shakespeare in Love, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, The Real Thing, Arcadia) and directed by Rachel Kavanaugh (The Wind in the Willows, Half a Sixpence), it opens at the Theatre Royal Windsor on January 29 before touring to Chichester, Manchester, Bath, Malvern, Guildford, Liverpool, Norwich, Leeds and Cambridge.

Two famous but desperate playwrights are stuck in an ocean liner headed for New York, feverishly trying to rehearse their latest show before reaching land, and opening night. But they are constantly distracted by their delicate composer’s attempts to end it all, having overheard his lover confess her feelings to the leading man.

Add an absurdly unorthodox waiter, a mistimed lifeboat drill and a vanishing glass of brandy and soon the sharp Atlantic winds turn to world-class gales of laughter as these colourful characters become tangled up in a typically Stoppardian string of absurd events.

The star cast is led by John Partridge, winner of this year’s Celebrity Masterchef. Partridge is best known to TV audiences as the suave and charismatic Christian Clarke in EastEnders. He is also one of musical theatre’s most prolific leading men, having played in major West End musical hits such as A Chorus Line, Chicago and Bill Kenwright’s recent La Cage Aux Folles.

Joining Partridge fresh from Snow White at the London Palladium is one of musical theatre’s brightest upcoming stars, Olivier-award nominee Charlie Stemp, who has triumphed on Broadway starring opposite Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly! and in London in Half a Sixpence. He will play Bert in the 2019 revival of Mary Poppins.

They in turn will be joined by West-End star Issy van Randwyck (Fascinating Aïda), comedy TV favourite Matthew Cottle (Game On, The Windsors), Holby City’s Rob Ostlere and Simon Dutton who portrayed Simon Templar in The Saint.

The creative team is completed by: Colin Richmond (set and costume design), Ben Cracknell (lighting) and Dan Samson (sound).