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Friday, 8 November 2019

REVIEW: Cyrano de Bergerac at the Watermill Theatre, Newbury

The Watermill Young Company's latest production is a charming and fun version of the story of the French poet and swordsman, Cyrano, based on the original play written in 1897 by Edmond Rostand in an adaption written in 2013 by Glyn Maxwell. It is great script full of modern witty lines but sticking closely to the plot of the original five act play , particularly in the first Act (which reflects the first three acts of the original). Oddly the shorter second act set in the siege of Arras and fifteen years later in a Covent seemed rather rushed and less well written than the excellent first act.

Simply set with an overhead walkway, single door and a cut out round window and with an excellent set of period costumes all designed by Cory Shipp, they create a good period feel and the different levels are well used. The critical scene, so memorably played by Steve Martin in the 1997 movie Roxanne, where Christian tries to woo Roxanne on a balcony using the words of Cyrano is very well done by the young cast. Director Seamus Allen provides strong direction getting the best from the ensemble cast who deliver the lines with confidence and clarity. There are nice flourishes like when they effectively stage Cyrano's defeat of 100 soldiers in choreographed movement in a lightening storm and the rousing chants of the cadets before battle.
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