Theater Review ‘Cyrano’ at Two River Theater

first_imgBy Gretchen C. Van Benthuysen Fear not. Jason O’Connell and Brenda Withers wrote a script that adheres to the original story line based on a real person, but with a more contemporary vernacular, costumes mixing modern and traditional styles, a set with reversed flats suggesting we may be watching from backstage and short blasts of hip-hop music during scene changes. The playwrights also streamlined the cast to five people – with O’Connell as Cyrano – exuding the panache for which he is known in a well-drawn performance. Journalist Gretchen C. Van Benthuysen’s theater news and reviews can be found on Jason O’Connell stars as Cyrano, Luis Quintero as Christian and Chris Thorn as DeGuiche in Two River Theater’s production of “Cyrano” now through Oct. 13. Photo courtesy T. Charles Erickson Costume designer Jessica Wegener gives Cyrano motorcycle pants, Roxanne a simple red dress and Montfleury feathers and braid. Scenic designer Kristen Robinson also includes the traditional proscenium and modern metal chairs. Lighting designer Paul Toben gives us an incredibly beautiful moon at the end. The rest of the superb, very talented company includes Chris Thorn (DeGuiche, Ragueneau, Montfleury, Cadet) and Nance Williamson (LeBret, Duenna, Lise, Monk, Unsavory Character). A new adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s classic play currently running at the Two River Theater in Red Bank is less like the 1950 movie featuring José Ferrer in the title role, and more like the 1987 film “Roxanne” featuring Steve Martin, whose script offered a happy ending. center_img This is not your grandparents’ “Cyrano de Bergerac.” It’s probably not even your parents’ “Cyrano de Bergerac.” So I wonder: Is this a“Cyrano” for millennials? Notexclusively, of course. Afterall, Roxanne says, towardthe end of the play, she feelsmore grownup after whatshe’s been through. Roxanne still falls in love with the new handsome cadet Christian (Luis Quintero, who also plays Sister Marthe and Bellerose.) When he first encounters Cyrano he makes several insulting jokes about Cyrano’s enormous nose. The only makeup to indicate the flaw is what looks like a black vein – tape? – on one side of a normal nose. It’s disconcerting. Meredith McDonough’s direction is flawless, often brilliant, when it comes to on stage costume changes, entrances and exits, and the opening and closing business. Don’t be late, trust me. While the first act of the two acts is long, it kept moving. If you exit early, however, Cyrano might take note, which he did in this performance. In the shorter Act 2, Cyrano incurs an injury he tries to hide bycovering his face with hishand, making it difficult tocatch all the dialogue. But the production includes a most inexplicable change by doing away with Cyrano’s oversized nose, the source of his sometimes crippling self-doubt when it comes to love and women. One woman in particular. Although he is much admired for his dueling, his poetry, his wit, his charity, he believes no woman could love him, especially his distant cousin and childhood companion Roxanne, nicely played by Britney Simpson, who also plays a cadet. last_img

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