Daily Archives: September 20, 2007

CYRANO – Review 20.9.07


JOYCE MCMILLAN on CYRANO (Catherine Wheels at the Byre Theatre, St. Andrews) for The Scotsman, 20.9.07

4 stars ****

AT THE BEGINNING Of this beautiful short version of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano De Bergerac, created by Flemish writer Jo Roets for audences over 10, there’s a magical moment when the three actors play a game of chance about who will wear the huge false nose that identifies the hero.  From one moment to the next, one of the three becomes the kind of person who will always find it hard to believe that he is worthy of love; and although the yearning, unfulfilled romanticism of Rostand’s story seems a million miles from our 21st century culture of instant satisaction, there’s something in that moment of chance that forms an instant bond between Cyrano and any young audience, full of painful self-consciousness about looks and image.

Gill Robertson’s fine revival of her own touring production of Cyrano, for her  increasingly acclaimed Catherine Wheels company, is full of touches like this, inspired moments of theatre that bring an old story exquisitely to life.  Roets’s version uses just three actors to move swiftly and deftly, in just 70 minutes, through the story of Cyrano’s profound love for Roxanne, and her girlish passion for the handsome but tongue-tied soldier Christian.  There’s plenty of wit and humour, a beautiful, simple design by Karen Tennant, some clever use of modern pop anthems to remind us that love can still hurt in the age of rock and roll, and the occasional moment of clod-hoppingly overstated comedy.  As Cyrano and his Roxanne, Ronnie Simon and Veronica Leer transcend time and place to remind us of how hard it can be to recognise true love, when it comes from an unexpected source.  And the show also defies our self-seeking culture by reminding us that love unfulfilled is not always love wasted; but can continue to create beauty and joy, long centuries after the star-crossed lovers are gone.