"Beautiful voice of disfigured face"
by remotegoat reviewer for remotegoat on 18/08/10

Although Edmond Rostand's piece is only remotely faithful to History, it will always be one of the most heart-wrenchingly romantic plays ever produced. Written in 1897, it presents the fictional exploits of 17th Century French playwright and duelist Cyrano de Bergerac - hell raiser, fearless swordsman and histrionic poet with a wit as sharp as his blade, whose disfigurement denies him his heart's one desire - the love of his beautiful and clever cousin Roxane. The only way he can express his feelings to her, is by proxy. So he sets out to woo her from behind the shield of conventionally handsome but tongue-tied Christian.

Simon Evans's direction does not slack for a second, maintaining the energy levels intense, and the pace so tightly sustained, that the two and a half hours fly by and you are left wanting more.

Gwilym Lloyd is a truly inspiring Cyrano. He conveys the full force of profound sadness masquerading as bravado and wit. This is a man who feels irreparably defective. His unquestioning certainty that he is simply not entitled to the happiness others consider as a God-given right, gives you a deep pang. Mr Lloyd does not shy away from expressing his character's feeling with unadulterated immediacy.

Iris Roberts is an effervescent Roxane. She grows from girlish 'precieuse' concerned with pure aesthetics, to a woman rendered still by the overwhelming weight of grief. Philip Scott-Wallace is very touching as the handsome but inarticulate Christian. His beautifully understated performance conveys the slow yet perceptive thought process and final despair of his character.

David Mildon gives a subtle performance as Cyrano's confidant le Bret, illustrating the inner conflict of a friend who can do nothing but watch helplessly, as tragedy unfolds. Sam Donnelly demonstrates excellent comic timing as the archetypal villain who redeems himself, de Guiche. Sparkling comedy moments are provided also by Lucy Eaton, as Duenna, and by the rest of the well-matched cast. Kate Matthews's design adds a highly creative quirkiness to the costumes, whilst maintaining a period feel.

For me, Ranjit Bolt's translation is too modern and lacks the elegance of the original. Nevertheless, it captures some of its poetry and is refreshingly punchy. 'Cyrano de Bergerac' is entrancing from start to end. Buy your tickets now, and let yourself be swept away by its message of honour, integrity, uncompromising intelligence and unconditional love.

Add your review? Have your say, add your review

Other recent reviews by remotegoat reviewer
Dead Sheep YES. YES. YES. Simply Marvellous
Eurydice A fascinating shift of focus
Eggs How d'you like your eggs?
Skin Deep welcome to the new nostagia
Joy A young woman's empowering journey
The Man From U.N.C.L.E Programme revival lacks original charm
Sasha Regan's All Male The ... Laughter on the high Cs!
The History Boys Art wins in the end?
Jason & The Argonauts Drums. Drums and the Greeks...
Raggabones&House Come over to my house
The Open Couple What's good for the goose...
Romeo & Juliet Welcome to my new definitive
The Business of Murder Not a whodoneit, a whatdidhedo
The Hopeful Grave Still relevant 2000 years on
Can't Pay? Won't Pay! Millet soup with rabbits' heads
The Mist in the Mirror Ominous, comfortable; period and modern
Foxcatcher Great performances highlight great film
Theory of Everything An extraordinarily transformative lead performance
Birdman Possibly film of the year
The Wall A very strong Fringe production...