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Theatre Review: Edmond de Bergerac

Maddie Thornham heads to York Grand Opera House to see the comedy based on the 17th Century Frenchman

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Image Credit: York Grand Opera House

Cyrano de Bergerac, a French 17thCentury famously long-nosed duellist and keen, but unsuccessful writer, sparked the inspiration for Edmond Rostand’s original comedy based on this historical figure. Recently, Alexis Michalik wrote a new comedy, Edmond de Bergerac, known as *Edmond *in France, in light of this fascinating characters’ evolutionary capacity .  

The English translation of the play was skilfully executed by Jeremy Sams, and seemed so skilful due to the play due to the rhyming couplets central to Edmond’s speech that allowed the play to both romanticise and find humour in quite obscure action on the stage. A particularly memorable moment was when Edmond was wooing Jeanne from below her balcony, while hiding behind Leo’s back, in order to help lovesick but unpoetic Leo woo Jeanne. A risqué game to play.

Edmond continues to woo Jeanne, disguising himself by talking through Leo and sends her love letters twice a day in Leo’s name; he is driven by his desire of Jeanne and uses her as his muse for inspiration, that he cannot get from his wife, in order to write his play.  The play presented some other classically funny features, like a trapdoor that someone was inevitably going to fall through after all the many warnings on stage, and a play within a play that captured more of the original story of Edmond de Bergerac as a historical figure.

The set piece of the hotel at the beginning of the second act was perfect for the wild goose chase that took place, of slamming doors and Edmond lying about his identity which was quickly found out, while Leo stood gawping in confusion as Jeanne confessed her love to him from receiving his letters that were actually, unknowingly sent by Edmond.  The audience seemed to find all this action very funny, but it was a shame the theatre wasn’t very busy. Hopefully the play will become more of a hit in the future as it is cleverly written and was delivered by the actors really well.  

Image Credit: York Grand Opera House


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