It is very interesting to watch Vevers take on both the male and female sides of the relationship — — with her performance being proof of the saying that there are two sides to every story. The back and forth arguing evokes images of the television characters in their most notorious moments (we were on a break!) and indulges fans of the show with these famous one-liners. This plot goes deeper than the sitcom and investigates the layers of a true human relationship that has stayed the course in terms of building a pretty sustainable marriage and family from the outside but allows one partner to be straightforward about how the journey has come to affect her life and what she truly feels like she needs to be happy.
Under Thomas Martin’s careful direction, Ross & Rachel tackles the important questions many individuals have as they quickly witness language surrounding their relationship status always being lumped together. Suddenly, invitations and e-mails meant for two people are addressed to one partner, completely disregarding each as individuals. While most people look forward to life as a unit, Vevers gets real about her feelings and how one’s self gets lost in the mix when it comes to a relationship. She is brave enough to express the thoughts people are afraid to verbalize and proves that life and love isn’t all romance and butterflies. Sometimes you are attracted to other people or can’t stand being in the same space as your partner — and these situations are what ultimately forces you to consider the quality of the life you desire.
Vevers keeps audiences engaged and invested for the full hour, as she uses locks eyes and makes contact with every member in the room. Designer, Alison Neighbour, selects a space that is intimate and uses basic props to bring the tale to life – with Vevers in the dark for most of the show, and the only exception being minimal candlelight – with lighting design by Douglas Green — that surrounds a pool of water. Dressed in a plain white robe, she lets audiences in on her vulnerability and exposes her innermost beliefs and outlook on the matter in a genuine way.
In an effort to hone in on her feelings during the course of her marriage as well as the struggle she feels when her husband becomes ill and has only a short time to live, Vevers uses the water in both a literal and figurative way. As circumstances with his condition intensify, she dips into the water to exemplify the physical pain of her reality while also peeling back the layers and picturing life without her husband and admitting that there might be joy in finding herself again – in terms of making her job more of a priority, meeting new people and dating again, and enjoying life as a strong and independent woman. While she feels guilty for envisioning the newfound freedom she will have after her husband is gone and his reaction to this freedom, Vevers is ready to take back control.
For an entertaining and eye-opening take on life, love and relationships, Ross and Rachel is guaranteed to make audiences laugh and cry as they join Vevers for the ride. Get ready to meet this legendary couple in a whole new way!
Ross & Rachel (through June 5, 2016)
2016 Brits Off Broadway
59E59 Theaters, 59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues, in Manhattan
For tickets, call Ticket Central at 212-279-4200 or go to http://www.59e59.org
Running time: one hour with no intermission