Feathered hats and long thin swords. Swashbuckling gentlemen and ladies in their finery. And, of course, the biggest nose you’ve ever seen.
Northern Broadsides have partnered up with New Vic Theatre to take on the tragic love story of Cyrano de Bergerac. Known and loved by many, Edmond Rostand’s 1897 tale is one of love and loss, heart warmth and heart break and mostly one of friendship triumphing over all.
Director Conrad Nelson has created a wonderful rendition with quirky features and unique ideas woven in. My favourite of which was the complete abandonment of French accents. Ladies in long dresses and corkscrew curls look the picture of elegance until they open their mouths and a out comes a gruff northern accent. This never got old.
Christian Edwards plays the strong young Cyrano well, capturing your hearts immediately with his self-mocking and fresh language. In a play jam packed of rhyming couplets, his grounding satire was energising. Every other cast member followed, full of energy and enthusiasm. It oozed out of their characters engaging the audience further and further.
Similarly to the modern accents and sprinkling of modern idioms, was the regular use of modern instruments. Perhaps simply chosen for practicality, the array of instruments allow each member to take on a role in the ensemble. The music lifts what can be long and wordy dialogue, giving resolution to a scene as well as tying in neatly with other modern elements of the production. The only downside was that no matter how quietly the ensemble played, voices were still lost underneath the layers of instruments.
The set consisted of a a few benches dotted around with a large simplistic backdrop of a old style moon calendar allowing the choreography to shine in the basic layout. Rather than the stage being unnecessarily cluttered, the space was filled with the energy from the larger than life characters.
A incredible story which the New Vic have filled full of jest and joy allowing the endless giggling to be balanced with heart wrenching tragedy, meaning you leave the theatre feeling fulfilled.