Cyrano De Bergerac
- Lorna Irvine
- 7 September 2018
A great nose for classic theatre
With costumes designed by iconic fashion legend Pam Hogg and Dominic Hill's iconoclastic approach to this Edwin Morgan translation of the classic Edmond Rostand play, this had to be full of mischief and passion. And despite a wobbly, meta opening, focusing on the rampant egotism of the play within a play, it mostly satisfies on both counts.
A punky aesthetic trains the eye on issues around class, conflict and the soul. Hogg's clothing choices (t-shirts bearing Johnny Thunders and Pere Ubu) are a reminder of trailblazing outsider-dom, before punk was mass produced and sold in Urban Outfitters to millennials. Samuel Pashby's superb percussion is reminiscent of The Banshees' Budgie, no less. And Keith Fleming's flouncing, priapic De Guiche stands in direct contrast to a superb Brian Ferguson, whose coarse Scots swagger and philosophical pronouncements mask a deep seated insecurity about his large bulbous nose.
Jessica Hardwick (as dependable as ever) as the object of Cyrano's affection Roxane moves from bratty Bohemian to wise woman, learning all too late that desire really starts in the mind. Even though it all flirts with camp, it lands in a Rococo hinterland with the seams showing. The construct of Romance is therefore undone, exposed as a mere diversion from loftier ideals.
A sparky and moving ensemble ensure that in the main (give or take a couple of longueurs) the pace is consistent.
Tramway, Glasgow, Sun 1–Sat 22 Sep; Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, Fri 12 Oct–Sat 3 Nov.