Cyrano de Bergerac @ Tramway, Glasgow

The classic tale of love highlights the original text's timeless appeal, and showcases the best of Scottish theatre

Review by Cat Acheson | 17 Sep 2018

Edmond Rostand’s classic Cyrano de Bergerac, a story of unrequited love and the destructive power of our own self-loathing is given a new breath of life in this co-production between the Citizens’ Theatre, National Theatre of Scotland and the Royal Lyceum Theatre. The production, directed by Dominic Hill, combines the playfulness and gravity of Edwin Morgan’s Scots translation with tour-de-force performances, alongside innovative staging and music from a uniquely talented creative team.

Cyrano de Bergerac is a man who seems to have it all: dazzling wit, unrivalled swordsmanship, and a natural ability to inspire and lead. And yet, behind this façade of untouchability, his conviction that his large nose makes him physically repulsive is the one foe he can’t overcome – not even for Roxanne, the woman he loves. Brian Ferguson is mesmerising in the role of Cyrano; portraying him with a combination of swagger, forcefulness and vulnerability, and effortlessly capturing the paradoxes of Cyrano’s vibrant masculinity. Roxanne is portrayed with irresistible energy and verve by Jessica Hardwick, and the chemistry between the lead characters is wholly convincing and a pleasure to watch.

An original score by Nikola Kodjabashia – performed live amidst the drama onstage – drives the plot forwards with urgency and passion. Tom Piper's staging is artful and highly inventive, giving a stylish, unpredictable edge to the unfolding tragedy. A large supporting cast deliver meticulously choreographed sequences, and bring a raw physicality to the production that merges perfectly with the gritty lyricism of Morgan’s script. The production is undeniably ambitious in scope, and it is extremely satisfying to see such a complex and well-realised vision brought to life.

The production holds nothing back in delivering the hard-hitting tragedy of Cyrano and Roxanne’s love story. And yet, the joyful energy and subtle sensitivity of the cast and crew ensure that the audience are also given a delicate tribute to the boldness of love, the beauty of language, and the heart’s ability to withstand great suffering. All in all, Cyrano de Bergerac is proof not only of the timeless appeal of Rostand’s original play, but also the remarkable creativity and daring of some of the brightest talents in Scottish theatre today.

Cyrano de Bergerac, Tramway, Glasgow, 1-22 Sep; Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, 12 Oct - 3 Nov