The Vortex begins its run at the Rose
An emotional cocaine-snorting musician is the brightest spark in the Rose Theatre’s 1920’s-esque production of Noël Coward’s classic The Vortex.
Ripper Street star David Dawson plays Nicky Lancaster, the protagonist, who has returned home from his travels in Paris with a girlfriend he can barely touch and a drug problem he can’t shake off.
The play starts a little dry but the scene is set well and the personalities of many of the characters begin to emerge with the upper-class banter.
Florence Lancaster played by Kerry Fox is the vain and glam mother of Nicky who is desperate to cling on to her youth and is indulged in an extra-marital affair with a guard half her age right under her husband’s nose.
She delivers the lines well and her movements and mannerisms are akin to what you would expect of the kind of woman we are told she is – but that’s just the problem. We never really warm to her or understand her beyond what we see.
Although much of the quick wit between characters is enjoyable, what really amuses the audience is Nicky turning to the piano to avoid speaking to his girlfriend – because that’s just normal behaviour.
Nicky’s inability to be affectionate towards his girlfriend when they are alone but throw himself all over his mother on a bed, also gives rise to the subtle homosexual and incestuous themes in the play.
The set itself oozes minimalistic style and the costumes are glamorous in this period comedy drama.
Director Stephen Unwin has done extremely well to slowly build the drama in a household hit by grave issues.