BWW Review: CYRANO DE BERGERAC at Le Grenier De Babouchka
Sometimes revisiting a story that you know can be boring; not so with this production by Le Grenier de Babouchka! Cyrano de Bergerac is known the world over and takes lots of care when anyone decides to mount it. Cyrano is a dashing man with swordsmanship and wit equally sharp, who loves his cousin Roxanne from afar. Out of love for her, he ends up doing everything in his power to help her be with the person she has set her eye on; Christian, a new member of Cyrano's band of fighters. Cyrano feeds Christian words of love from the shadows in order to ensure their happiness, and his eternal misery. He feels that he deserves such misery because he has been born with a large, unbecoming nose, and as such will never be beautiful in the eyes of another.
When we meet Cyrano (Stéphane DAUCH), he is interrupting a play- though I missed why. I was reading the English subtitles provided by Theatre in Paris while listening to the French verse. Perhaps I simply wasn't prepared for such multitasking and needed a few minutes to adjust, and that must be why I missed that bit of information, because the rest of the play presented no issues. Regardless, his entrance gives us a glimpse into who Cyrano is. He likes words and he likes swordplay! He is clearly a passionate man, and also clear, his nose is meant to be a detriment to his face, represented by a mask. The mask was so cool looking though I never thought of Cyrano as particularly ugly. The opening scene involves Cyrano improvising to the crowd of theatre goers a series of insults about his own face. Such a clever script deserves clever staging, and this production did not disappoint. The theatre itself, Theatre Ranelagh, is the perfect setting for a romantic, historic, grandiose play such as this. You really feel immersed in the world, particularly because the costumes are so beautiful and detailed.
I found the addition of a musician, wearing the same mask as Cyrano, very compelling. I wish there had even been more of her! I am not sure what she was meant to represent, but she certainly evoked emotion and added tension in key places.
There was also a lot of great chemistry between Roxane (Charlotte MATZNEFF) and her two love interests. When the time jumps 14 years into the future I believed that she had aged, and it wasn't just because her hair colour was different. She brought a great depth to a role that is sometimes written off as superficial.
If you love the classics, this one will not disappoint! An excellent date night idea- and you're in luck, because it runs various days through to April.