Cyrano de Bergerac – Sydney Theatre Company
Top marks for Richard Roxburgh, Richard Roxburgh's nose and Julia Zemiro.
Edmond Rostand’s 1897 portrait of 17th-century real-life poet and all-round badass Cyrano De Bergerac is a giant of a play awash with velvet pantaloons, enduring love and, of course, one crucial prosthetic nose. Each night, makeup supervisor Lauren Proietti creates a masterpiece.
Her version of the nose is a good bulbous sort: robust, gnarly and believable. Richard Roxburgh wears it with a quixotic defiance that makes you want one yourself. Despite Cyrano’s commitment to truth, he can’t quite get past regarding himself as a hideous monster — an old-school, less green, more eloquent Shrek.
Cyrano spends most of his life as a self-assured, uncompromising poet, but when he falls in love with his distant cousin Roxane (Eryn Jean Norvill), he comes undone. He continues to pine for her despite her affections for the more handsome, but significantly dimmer Christian (Chris Ryan). Their dual wooing of Roxane is a fabulous comedy of errors.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Roxburgh as Cyrano is outstanding, walking a delicate line between cavalier and humble. Matching Roxburgh in the excellence stakes is Josh McConville as Comte De Guiche. His speech detailing the trail of small compromises that have led to his worldly success is compelling and disarming. De Guiche’s conviction that Cyrano’s personal integrity is far more valuable than worldly possessions is excellent and may see hoards of Sydneysiders quitting their day jobs. The rest of the cast is vibrant, none more so than Julia Zemiro playing Sister Claire. She seems to be constantly amused at finding herself on stage.
Alice Babidge’s set is simple and dynamic, a wide open space with a peripheral balcony that provides ample space for multiple thrilling sword fights directed well by fight director Nigel Poulton. Babidge’s set comes alive in a final striking shower of autumn leaves. Adapted and directed by the Sydney Theatre Company's artistic director, Andrew Upton, this Cyrano is big, shiny and moving.
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