Play review: Cyrano de Bergerac (Broadway HD, 2008)

Cyrano de Bergerac

 

Being as smitten as I am with theatre, I almost never get to see Broadway productions. Most of the plays that are screened at Cineplex are by National Theatre or Royal Shakespeare Company. One in a while, though, we get rare gems, like The Crucible, and this time – Cyrano de Bergerac.

 

It was the first time I got to see this play on stage and was fairly entertained by it. Cyrano de Bergerac was written in 1897 by Edmond Rostand, and there are two most famous English translations – by Brian Hooker and by Anthony Burgess. This production used the text translated by Anthony Burgess. The play was on stage briefly in 2007, then revived and filmed in 2008.

 

Synopsis

 

Soldier and poet Cyrano de Bergerac (Kevin Kline) is in love with Roxane (Jennifer Garner), but he’s too ashamed to admit it because of his big nose. When a cadet, Christian (Daniel Sunjata), falls for Roxane, he asks for Cyrano’s help in sharing his feelings. Cyrano writes love letters signed with Christian’s name, and Roxane doesn’t realize that it is Cyrano’s words she falls for.

 

The events of the play take off in Paris, in 1640.

 

(I have slightly abridged the synopsis as I felt that it was too spoilery otherwise.)

 

I didn’t realize that the production was from several years back – almost a decade – and wondered why I hadn’t seen this play before.

 

Kevin Kline was fantastic as Cyrano – he was both witty, eloquent, touching, and a bit tragic. It took me some time to get used to Roxane as her character seemed to be a bit exaggerated. I even sympathized with Christian a bit, although he did look way too snobby and uptight at times. The play is set at my favourite time period – the same time as the events of The Three Musketeers, so I was delighted to see the play in the full period costume. Needless to say, the duels were among my favourite parts (and I kept getting flashbacks to BBC series The Musketeers).

 

I enjoyed the play for the duels, wit, and all the schemes that Cyrano comes up with. I felt that Roxane was a bit too one dimensional, as her role was basically that of a swooning and spoiled lady, but I enjoyed Jennifer’s acting a lot. I just didn’t like the fact that the only prominent woman in this story was just an object of affection and nothing more.

 

Overall, it is not too spectacular, but funny enough to keep you entertained. Make sure to grab enough snacks and drinks before the broadcast, though, as the whole 2.5 hours of the play screened without an intermission.

 

Rating: 3.5 stars

 

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