May 11th, 2004

This IS me (by schwitters)Default

You know what they say about men with big noses.

I saw Cyrano de Bergerac on Saturday, in the Olivier theatre at the NT.

Reviews of the production have been mildly negative, criticising set, costumes and translation. I didn't have a problem with any of these elements. The set was a complex scaffolding structure which stood for theatre seats, balcony and front line at Arras; the costumes probably weren't period but looked appropriate, and the script was mighty fine, keeping the rhymes going without making them too obvious and sneaking in the references to Shock and Awe currently obligatory in any play that happens to have a war in it. Stephen Rea was great in the title role, despite occasionally reminding me too much of Tom Baker's Doctor (I think it was the hat).

As one review grudgingly admitted, you would have to try very hard to put on a truly bad Cyrano. It is simply The Best Play In The World. Every single scene is awash with humour, romance and dramatic irony. I feel there is scope for at least two or three more swordfights, though.

I've seen two versions of the play on stage as well as the Gerard Depardieu film, and I have never failed to get choked up by the ending.

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Of course, my fondness for feisty Gascon swordsmen with big noses can be traced back to Dogtanian. I feel a crossover fanfic coming on.
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