DramaNorth WestReview

Cyrano – New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-Under-Lyme

Writer: Edmond Rostand

Adaptor: Deborah McAndrew

Director: Conrad Nelson

Reviewer: Matthew Bagnall

Both heart-warming and heart-breaking in equal measure, this adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s play Cyrano de Bergerac is a poetic delight. Taking a classic and reimagining it into a culturally relevant piece of art is no mean feat, yet Northern Broadsides consistently achieve this through their adaptations.

Cyrano is in love with Roxanne, but to be kind, his nose is rather on the large side of the scale. Concerned by his looks, Cyrano’s jealousy is compounded by Christian’s handsome looks and his own desire for Roxanne. What follows is an extraordinary turn of events which is far less predictable than you would otherwise imagine.

Deborah McAndrew, a regular writer for the company has adapted Rostand’s play excellently. The sheer amount of wittiness and occasional vulgarness provides many a humorous moment in the play and following her award-winning, An August Bank Holiday Lark, her ability to engage audiences with a compelling and ferocious romance comes as no surprise. The juiciness of the ever unravelling plot captures the audience attention throughout, which is no doubt a positive as the performance comes in at just short of three hours. The opening segment to the play lacks the same bite but once we are introduced to the trials and tribulations that follows it turns out to be a creative, imaginative and outright clever piece of writing.

Conrad Nelson – another with Northern Broadside’s lifetime membership – is charged with directing and composing such a play. Periodic music is played throughout, live on stage by the cast, which adds to both the engagement and excitement of the drama which unfolds. Nelson does remarkably well to balance out the delicate and at times intense moments of romance with the playfulness and musical frenzy the audience experience.

Michael Hugo,  a regular in New Vic productions, excels as Ligniere and Monfleury and is the source of laughter for much of the play. The relationship on stage between Christian Edwards who plays the protagonist, Cyrano, and Adam Barlow as Christian is consistently strong. Their love triangle with Roxanne (Sharon Singh) brings intrigue and a range of emotions to the play.

Beverley Norris-Edmunds and Philip d’Orleans bring with them a vast amount of movement and stage combat which adds further excitement into what is already an action packed performance while the production values are once again of a high standard by the New Vic Theatre’s design and production teams.

Cyrano is a classic story which has once more been brought to life by the creative spark of a Northern Broadsides and New Vic co-production. Catch it while you can,  just don’t mention his nose when you’re there…

Runs until: Saturday 25 February | Image: Nobby Clarke

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The North West team is under the editorship of John Roberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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