21 August 2020 | TheLittleSongbird
Beautiful in its simplicity
'Cyrano De Bergerac' is a very moving story and while the play is not one of my favourites it's well worth experiencing. This National Theatre Live production is a great place to start. Always see this fascinating and mostly very impressive if uneven in quality series of productions without fail and seeing this production of 'Cyrano De Bergerac' when it was streamed fairly recently was a high point of what has been a difficult period. James McAvoy is a very talented actor and was interested in seeing how he would fare in the title role.
Was not let down. This 'Cyrano De Bergerac' may look very simple, and for some unappealing, but emotionally and in characterisation it is quite complex as well as rich in dramatic detail. Although some may, will, and have, take issue with that it is a modern production, when the setting is a specific one, this didn't bother me. Was very worried initially because of thinking that the update would jar too much with the text, the production solves that though by updating the script too and despite worries it did work.
Did feel that the costumes were too much of a mishmash stylistically, but there was so little to criticise with this production of 'Cyrano De Bergerac'.
The set is not complex or audacious, keeping things simple, but unlike something like 2018's 'Macbeth' or 2019's 'The Tragedy of King Richard II' the simplicity doesn't become simplistic, too grim or over-ugly. The staging manages to be understated while bringing so much detail to all the emotions and what happens in the story, managing to make it accessible and easy to follow. Rather than resorting to distaste, jumping around or throwing in things to over-complicate the drama, 'Cyrano De Bergerac' lets the emotions speak and keeps it simple.
Really appreciated that although the dialogue was updated, it still managed to make sense and be accessible for modern audiences not familiar with the story already while not losing the play's heart. The storytelling is always poignant and never dull, quite lively even, wordless stretches managing to tell so much. Which is remarkable for such an on the surface simple production that is actually more complex in detail and emotion underneath.
McAvoy is nothing short of sensational, full of vitality but also subtle when needed and affecting. He does so well making one root for the titular characters, in fact another one of the production's biggest strengths was how easy it was to relate to the characters. Anita-Joy Uwajeh matches him perfectly, she is equally funny and moving and one relates to her every bit as much. The whole cast are great, but it's the two leads (particularly McAvoy) that captivate.
Overall, great and beautiful in its seeming simplicity. 9/10