Edmond de Bergerac at Richmond Theatre
Overcome by writer’s block, Edmond Rostand (Freddie Fox) does what any other scribbler would do: he seeks a quiet spot to let inspiration seep through. But our protagonist is no ordinary writer; he is a renowned dramatist whose career and reputation are on the line after his last play flopped. Nevertheless, it is whilst helping best friend Léo (Robin Morrissey) conquer love interest Jeanne (Gina Bramhill) – by composing heartfelt letters to her on behalf of the former – that the poet’s creative juices begin to flow, and so Cyrano de Bergerac is then, like a phoenix, born from the ashes.
With a nose for a hit, Alexis Michalik is back with his second play opening in London this month (the first being the highly acclaimed Intra Muros, currently running at the Park Theatre). Slick, smooth and slapstick, Edmond de Bergerac is a structural piece, one of echoed parallelisms which sees Edmond’s life and career play themselves out in an almost simultaneous way, so as to liken Rostand’s own experiences with those of his beloved Cyrano. The mobile set – opulent in design, providing a dual operating function alongside the narrative as opposed to merely supplying its backdrop – is effectively comprised of two balconies and a fictional stage which ebb and flow harmoniously, taking on board, one could say, a supporting character role.
Though each member of the cast delivers his or her part with absolute conviction, it is Simon Gregor in the role of a hotel receptionist, with his swagger and sense of humour, who is particularly entertaining to watch. Fox’s Edmond Rostand showcases the writer as being the Einstein of the 19th-century literary world, and Henry Goodman’s panache as celebrated actor Coquelin – who tries to keep the ensemble boat afloat – makes for an enjoyable evening all around.
Photos: Graeme Braidwood
Edmond de Bergerac is at Richmond Theatre from 30th April until 4th May 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.