Thursday, February 25, 2016

J'emporte malgré vous, et c'est. . . mon panache.

The Importance of Being Earnest can be classified with Cyrano de Bergerac. If you are capable of watching a production of either without enjoying it then you are so jaded that you should be forbidden from the theatre.
Who wrote that? Oh, that's right, it was me. U15s rugby training was cancelled last night. (Probably no bad thing on balance as there is a schools 7s competition today.) So, finding myself at an unexpected loose end I half-houred up the Northern Line to see a new production of Cyrano de Bergerac which has just opened at the Southwark Playhouse.

As a rule I am not a great one for poncing about with famous works, but this all female version has an interesting framing conceit; the story is told - and thus acted out - by the other nuns to a naive novice at the convent to which Cyrano’s beloved Roxane retires from the world after Christian is killed, and at which he visits her daily.

Cyrano de Bergerac is the most deliriously romantic play ever written, and I think that presenting it as what a young girl would imagine as she heard the story, bumps that essential quotient up even further. You can't - for example - present the fight with a hundred men that sees Lignière safely home realistically because its impossible, but it can work as a fantasy.

The critics don't like it; "a squandered opportunity" blah, blah, blah. Don't even get me started on "while having an all-female cast is an interesting decision and can shed new light on perceptions of gender in a play, it’s not clear what purpose it serves here."

I thought it was tremendous fun, and that - after all - is surely the point.

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