A play about words is a risky one for a critic; one largely about love is doubly troubling for us unhappiest of all artists.
Thankfully this Maddermarket Players production of Cyrano de Bergerac doesn’t need any twisting metaphors to explain it: it is a verve-filled production, laced with comedy, and a warmth to melt the hardest hearts.
Adapted from Edmond Rostand’s original, Glyn Maxwell’s adaptation uses a play within a play twist to condense the action and curtail the cast, with a thespian group of nuns (led by Dawn Brindle and Elizabeth Stothers) taking on the numerous supporting roles.
As the man with the big nose, Phillip Rowe confidently owns the stage and exhibits great comic timing, especially when teasing Adam Edwards as stuttering young lover Christian. Hollie Harrington-Ball is an enticing Roxane, believably transfixed by the verbal subterfuge.
There’s something of Captain Hook about Greg Lindsay-Smith’s Count de Guiche – and you sense a little hissing wouldn’t be entirely out of place alongside Tony Fullwood’s playful direction. This is supposed to be fun, and it is.
The swordplay and singing could have done with a little more conviction on opening night, but those are minor quibbles. For a play that gave the English language the word panache, there was plenty of it bouncing around the stage.