Cyrano de Bergerac

Theatre, Drama
  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • 3 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
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 (© Richard Lakos)
© Richard Lakos

Kathryn Hunter (Cyrano)

 (© Richard Lakos)
© Richard Lakos

Ellie Kendrick (Christian) and Kathryn Hunter (Cyrano)

 (© Richard Lakos)
© Richard Lakos
 (© Richard Lakos)
© Richard Lakos

Kathryn Hunter (Cyrano)

 (© Richard Lakos)
© Richard Lakos

Kiran Sonia Sawar (Multiple roles), Tamzin Griffin (Multiple roles), Sabrina Bartlett (Roxane) & Kathryn Hunter (Cyrano)

 (© Richard Lakos)
© Richard Lakos

Tamzin Griffin (Multiple roles)

This all-female take on the big nosed classic trips up over its own premise

I can really empathise with Cyrano de Bergerac: I, too, have a massive nose. And in Russell Bolam’s all-female Southwark Playhouse production of the crusty old play, Kathryn Hunter is sporting a giant schnoz that would give Nicole Kidman’s Oscar-winning Virginia Woolf prosthesis a run for its money. 

If you don’t know the story, it’s about a man whose all-round brilliance is spoiled by his huge nose. No one fancies him, but he’s in love with a woman called Roxanne. Who could blame him? She’s really fit. When a handsome man called Christian falls for her too, Cyrano offers to pen all of Christian’s love letters to her, so Roxanne falls in love with the former’s face but the latter’s words. These days, we’d call that catfishing.

Initially, there’s great fun to be had in mocking the male ego: men wearing tights, swishing their penises and bravado in our faces is just silly in 2016. And when women are doing it, the absurdity is exposed to hilarious effect.

But the second half jars with this jovial tone, and it all gets a bit ‘Les Mis’ when everyone seems to be getting mutilated with bayonets.It’s in these straighter moments that deeper flaws creep out. There’s a sense that the casting here isn’t radical at all, and in fact cops out of interrogating ideas around beauty that should present an open goal. What if Roxanne was not conventionally beautiful, or if Cyrano had been made startlingly feminine? Greater slipperiness around gender identity could have thrown down a gauntlet to the audience, but instead tired ideas remain intact in a production that, frankly,cuts off its nose to spite its face.



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3 / 5

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1 person listening

A mixed bag - starts off slow, awkward with no connection to the audience but then the charismatic and perfectly executed Cyrano enters on stage and completely transforms the play! You then enjoy it for a while , to be let down at the end and a bit deflated.

Some wonderful acting from the leading Cyrano and Christian, I really felt sad and as a cast as a whole on stage it was really good. Individually the cast  feel awkward and you don't get the atmosphere and it didn't work. Value for money wise, there are other plays on cheaper.