Cyrano de Bergerac
Director: Jamie Lloyd, Tony Grech-Smith
Writer: Martin Crimp in an adaptation of Edmond Rostand‘s play
Cast: James McAvoy, Anita-Joy Uwajeh, Eben Figueiredo, Tom Edden, Nima Taleghani, Michele Austin, Adam Best, Nari Blair-Mangat, Adrian Der Gregorian, Kiruna Stamell, Brinsley Terence
Seen on: 1.3.2022
Cyrano de Bergerac (James McAvoy) is a poet and soldier, known for his big nose that practically disfigures him, and his hot temper that earns him a certain respect and fear. Cyrano is very much in love with Roxane (Anita-Joy Uwajeh) with whom he connects over their shared love of poetry. But he has never told her, fearing that she couldn’t possibly love him because of his looks. When she tells him that she is in love with the newly arrived soldier Christian (Eben Figueiredo) and asks him for help, he is reluctant. But when he learns that Christian also loves Roxane, but has trouble with words, he suggests that he could help him find the right ones to court her.
This production of Cyrano de Bergerac is a wonderfully modernized, exciting adaptation with a frankly astonishing McAvoy in the lead. I was utterly enchanted by it.
I have never been somebody who is very good with feeling the rhythm of poetry when I had to read it by myself. (Chanting lessons in my Latin classes were always a goddamn pain for me.) But the thing I remember most about reading Cyrano de Bergerac (around 20 years ago for the first time probably) is the rhythm of it that completely drew me in. The other thing I remember very well is the romantic and dramatic nature of it. And the entire thing with the moon.
This adaptation is very faithful to the things I remember about the play, above all its rhythmical nature, leaning heavily on hiphop to give it a more modern spin. It’s often funny and light-hearted, but overall, it’s not a happy play, although the fast pace that comes from this rhythm sometimes makes it seem otherwise.
James McAvoy is in a league of his own in this play. He is so fucking good, I actally can look past the fact that they actually cast him as an ugly man. I mean, hello? Have you seen this dude? He is pretty damn gorgeous. Plus, he is like sex on a stick in this play. It does make things a little weird, but if you just accept that the play takes part in a weird parallel universe where people collectively think that this dude is ugly, it works.
Really, that’s the only thing I have to criticize about this production. I liked the (slight) queering of it – and I would be totally here for a version that delves even further into this reading. I liked the aesthetics. I liked the tempo. And altogether, I was just absolutely spellbound by it.
Summarizing: simply fantastic.