dfp_header_hidden_string

Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Cyrano review at Daryl Roth Theatre, New York – ‘Peter Dinklage is superb in a confused musical adaptation’

Jasmine Cephas Jones, Blake Jenner and Peter Dinklage in Cyrano. Photo: Monique Carboni

Neither a fully formed musical nor a staged concept album, this adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s play Cyrano de Bergerac, featuring music and lyrics by members of the band the National, struggles to find its groove.

What it does have is a superb central performance from Peter Dinklage, but when he’s not on stage, adaptor and director Erica Schmidt’s minimalist production feels stiff and awkward. The remaining cast members deal uneasily with the play’s anachronistic mix of modern and traditional.

Dinklage’s Cyrano is a delight. He’s a boisterous wordsmith and swordsman who is secretly in love with Jasmine Cephas Jones’ Roxanne. When she falls for the pretty but inarticulate Christian (Blake Jenner), he and Cyrano concoct a plan to woo her with letters written in Christian’s name.

Though Dinklage’s singing voice feels strained at times, he’s a good fit for Cyrano, relishing his sarcastic barbs and emotional swings, his expressive face movingly conveying Cyrano’s love, disappointment and fear. Beside him, Jones and Jenner look a little lost, struggling to connect their characters’ old-fashioned motivations with the work’s contemporary tone.

Jasmine Cephas Jones, Blake Jenner and Peter Dinklage in Cyrano. Photo: Monique Carboni

The songs are sumptuous. They enhance the romantic tone of the show, favouring orchestrated ballads and delicate underscoring. But though Christine Jones and Amy Rubin’s design mixes the past and the present, the elongated wooden wall with handwritten sentences that dominates the set would look more appropriate in a quirky cafe and Roxanne is saddled with unruly sparkling tulle skirts.

Schmidt’s direction is stilted and static. The actors frequently stand alone on a motionless stage, though sometimes the small ensemble move around them in ‘cinematic’ slow-motion.

While the National’s score is exceptional, both it, and Dinklage’s skill and charisma as an actor, are squandered here.

Andrzej Lukowski: How Game of Thrones has been great for British theatre

Want to continue reading?
Support The Stage with a subscription

We believe in fair pay for everyone who works in the arts, and that includes all our journalists and the whole team who create The Stage each week.

As a family-run, independently-owned publication, we rely on our readers' subscriptions to pay journalists to produce the informed and in-depth articles you want to read.

The Stage will always strive to report on great work across the country, champion new talent and publish impartial investigative journalism. Our independence allows us to deliver unbiased reporting that supports the performing arts industry, but we can only do this with your help.

Continue reading our quality content and support its creation with a subscription from just £4.49 →
Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
Verdict
Peter Dinklage gives a heartfelt performance in a confused and incoherent adaptation
^