Review: Cyrano, Northern Broadsides

Christian Edwards in Northern Broadsides' Cyrano. Picture by Nobby Clark.Christian Edwards in Northern Broadsides' Cyrano. Picture by Nobby Clark.
Christian Edwards in Northern Broadsides' Cyrano. Picture by Nobby Clark.
Wit, energy and panache; all adjectives often associated with Northern Broadsides.

The Yorkshire based company was established a quarter of a century ago by Barrie Rutter to tell the stories of Shakespeare in the Northern Voice.

These days it does a little more than just Shakespeare, updating classic texts and giving them a Northern swagger. Over the past decade the company has turned to former actor Deborah McAndrew for the script updates - and she has delivered, something she does again with her script for Cyrano.

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An adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, McAndrew’s script is at turns epic and intimate, funny and profound and seriously beautiful.

The hero of the story believes himself not to be beautiful. Despite his rapier wit, his wit with a rapier and his feats of derring do, Cyrano can’t see past the end of his very long nose. Nor, he believes, will the object of his affection Roxane.

She falls in love with the heart of the poet Cyrano, but the face of his cipher Christian. Cyrano, the ultimate selfless hero, writes increasingly passionate missives to the woman he loves until she is in raptures, deeply in love with the wrong man. It is a beautiful story and hinges entirely on the performance of Cyrano.

The man with the nose is played with a sense of enormous energy and great pathos by Christian Edwards. The chemistry between him and Sharon Singh’s Roxane compelling.

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Opening at Stoke’s New Vic Theatre before going on a national tour, Cyrano is a perfect example of the kind of magic that has been created when McAndrew, Broadsides and the theatre company’s second in command, Conrad Nelson, have come together.

West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds to March 4, then touring.

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