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Cyrano de Bergerac review at Tramway, Glasgow – ‘celebrates the language’

Brian Ferguson and the cast of Cyrano de Bergerac at Tramway, Glasgow. Photo: Mihaela Bodlovic
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Dominic Hill sets out a strong message of intent with his Citizens Theatre production of Cyrano de Bergerac. This is a glorious take on Edwin Morgan’s Scots language translation of Rostand’s play featuring an excellent 13-strong company of actor-musicians.

This is the company’s first production after an enforced two year absence from its home building and Hill brings that in to the staging. It opens in the dressing room of the theatre as Keith Fleming’s drunken lead actor transforms into the spiteful De Guiche.

Hill’s clear statement, that a stage can be anywhere an actor decides to perform, is all well and good. But this opening sequence also faffs around quite a bit and is not always coherent. It is something of a relief when Brian Ferguson’s Cyrano takes the whole thing by the scruff of its neck.

Ferguson’s Cyrano is a chameleon linguist who can expound in any style or mimic any class, yet his bluster is built on melancholy and self-doubt. The object of his affection, Jessica Hardwick’s Roxane – regal in Pam Hogg’s glittering period dresses – is self-assured to the point of naivety in her love of Scott Mackie’s hunky dullard Christian.

Tom Piper’s minimal set provides a platform for this exceptionally strong company to drive the plot from the comic heights of Paris to the waste of Arras towards a deliciously tragic telling of Cyrano’s demise.

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Powerfully performed, if slow-starting, production, that celebrates the glory of the play’s language