Cyrano is a charismatic and striking character. Once heard of or read about he is hard to forget. Probably that's why Rostand's timeless masterpiece inspired so many versions in theatre and on screen. Deeply human and deeply wounded Cyrano of Peter Dinklage and charming and witty Cyrano-fireman of Steve Martin are great, but eccentric and fiery harlequin-like James McAvoy just might be able outshine them.
Sometimes actor is simply perfect for the part and I admire Jamie Lloyd for discovering Monsieur De Bergerac in the great Scottish actor. Probably James McAvoy's fierce, intense performance is what makes this production so strong and watchable. Sure, other cast members are good too, there is some great lighting and music, interesting movement direction. But nothing quite matches McAvoy's bright star.
I did not understand why microphones and big earphones were necessary, why entire cast had to wear jeans and hoodies. I felt also deeply sorry for Rostand's beautiful, romantic poetry which is completely gone from the new adaptation of the play. Instead some rep-style rhymes and lots of swearing is used. Well, directors need to trust their audiences more and believe that theatre goes can see the modern day relevance of the play behind its verse or period costumes.
Some strongly dramatic moments of the plot are somewhat lost; Christian's death and Cyrano's demise are almost non existent. When stage descends into a complete darkness one feels like it happens in wrong moments.
Christian and Cyrano for some reason kiss, while, by that time we both know that they both adore Roxanne and not each other. Is it done to provoke?
Having said the above, there are some extremely powerful moments and finds that emerge throughout the performance: when curtains opens entire cast stands facing us, while only Cyrano shows the audience his back gazing intensely into the mirror. It immediately sets him out as a rebel, facing away from the society and its norms.
At some point an actor comes out and starts to write on the barren back wall Cyrano's credo "I love words. That's all". It is simple, but very affecting. Is that wall an analogy with blank page that every poet and writer faces?
In the interval actors stroll rhythmically across the barren and strictly geometrical stairs. They don't look at each other, or the audience. Their actions reminded me of a busy street in a big city, where people go about their daily business and often do not notice, or care about each other. So, even outstanding individuals like Cyrano can and will be overlooked by the crowd. Director points out a blindness and cold nature of contemporary society.
Despite the fact that I am far from being in love with Jamie Lloyd's version of Cyrano De Bergerac I am truly happy that I saw it. It is undoubtedly an inspiring and memorable show with fiery beating heart, called James McAvoy.