Oscar E Moore

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CYRANO DE BERGERAC – takes a nose dive

October 21st, 2012 by Oscar E Moore

This Roundabout Theatre Company revival – with an odd contemporary translation full of anachronistic words and rhyming phrases by Ranjit Bolt (after Edmond Rostand) might be better entitled Cyranose de Bergerac, where IT takes precedence over all else. 

This large, porcine, pulpy, phallic proboscis is hard not to notice to the extent that you might become preoccupied with IT even when the actor wearing IT (Douglas Hodge) isn’t around and the sounds and fury of his 17th century co-horts, very much like a band of musketeers or more modern fraternity guys are stomping and shooting in a very Le Miz like epic grandeur atmosphere designed by Soutra Gilmour under the direction of Jamie Lloyd.

What’s holding IT on?  How can Hodge breathe properly?  Will someone knock IT off?  I’m afraid that IT is very disconcerting.  Perhaps it is also the production itself that tends to make one feel not completely involved with the play and its characters and their assorted wigs.

From his “Mama Rose” entrance where Cyrano interrupts a play in progress accusing them of “hamming” it up, Mr. Hodge immediately follows suit as the supposedly dashing, swashbuckling, romantic poet whose words are as sharp as his rapier.  He is proud.  He poses.  IT always up in the air and in profile, lest we forget IT exists. 

Cyrano is in love with his cousin, the comely Roxane (Clemence Poesy who is authentically French).  She is in love with the meek but handsome Christian (Kyle Soller).  The villain of the piece the Comte de Guiche is portrayed by the ubiquitous villain of Broadway Patrick Page who also has the hots for Roxane.  It’s a shame that this particular Roxane leaves one cold, wondering what all the fuss is about.

I did not believe her.  I did not believe Mr. Hodge who speaks at a fast clip to get all those words out sometimes getting them garbled in his mouth or perhaps IT is to blame.  I did not believe that Mr. Soller was infatuated with Roxane to the extent that he is supposed to be.  To the extent of having Cyrano speak and write love notes to the lovely Roxane for him.  He has the looks but Cyrano has the words.  And so they team up to woo her, which unfortunately doesn’t turn out the way any of them expect.  They are all just playing parts.

Who did I believe?  Roxane’s Duenna – Geraldine Hughes – who gives another wonderful performance as she did as Molly Sweeney at the Irish Rep.

CYRANO is a long show.  Act I is dark.  Act II is darker.  There is a lot of noise to keep you from dozing off.  Gunshots and battle cries.  Even a fiddler on the roof.  Unfortunately, there is little panache.  Just a lot of IT.

www.RoundaboutTheatre.org  Through Nov 25th  www.CyranoBroadway.com

Photos:  Joan Marcus

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