Reviews

Cyrano de Bergerac at NT Live

By February 20, 2020February 23rd, 2020No Comments

So if you are choosing to reads this I am guessing you are familiar with NT Live.

In case you‘re not – from their website, “National Theatre Live brings the best of British theatre to cinema screens all over the UK and beyond, from Tokyo to San Francisco.” Or in my case, more often than not, Sawston.

I find it awesome and ridiculous in equal measure that I can drive for less than two minutes from home and see, live and closer up than any ticket that I would choose to afford, a huge variety of plays that I doubt I would trog to London to see.

So of course I go and see all of them. Anything they choose to broadcast. I see pretty much the same people every time, so it’s like a little club. Drinking wine and eating eclectically chosen snacks.

This evening’s was a goodie. James McAvoy in an astonishing re-working of Cyrano de Bergerac. Goodness me he’s come a long way since Mr Tumnus!

So the story you know – clever but ugly man in love with a real beauty who is in love with a pretty but brainless chap. Ugly man gives pretty man the words with which to woo her…blah blah.

It’s been done a million times in oh so many ways but this…oh my! This version of Edmond Rostand’s play adapted by Martin Crimp and directed by Jamie Lloyd.

Minimalist, clean, modern, fast, physical. Lots of microphones and street-style rap stuff (which I don’t even know what to call so I’ll stick with rap stuff). First five minutes I got a bit of an attack of the old lady vapours. You know, “Oh why do these young people do shouting at me in such a weird and unsettling rhyming fashion.” But then they won me over and how.

Turns out the play is so current, so moving, so relevant and Mr Tumnus was spellbinding. I held my breath for one particular monologue that should be compulsory viewing and available on prescription. And the beautiful detail hit home all the more effectively in such a superficially stark production – like the soldiers taking off their mics when they died.

It’s a yes from me.

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