‘Frank Langella’s Cyrano’ brings a modern classic to the Hilberry.
Patty Nolan, Detroit Theater Examiner
Read original article here.
The Hilberry Theatre Company’s production of Frank Langella’s Cyrano opened last night to an enthusiastic, if somewhat weepy, audience. This abridged adaptation of the 1897 Edmond Rostand classic is compelling in that it captures the essential truths of the original – respecting its integrity in both the humorous and heart-rending moments.
Full disclosure: I’ve never met a Cyrano I didn’t like; I am glad to have met this one. If you’ve never seen Cyrano in any of its iterations – or are perhaps a fan of the Steve Martin film ‘Roxanne’ – you would do well to see this play at the Hilberry.
Dave Toomey gives us an honest, spare representation of Cyrano, the charismatic swordsman-poet with the absurd nose. (Kudos for the beautifully executed fight choreography.) Cyrano hopelessly loves the enchanting Roxane, played with grace and understanding by Sara Hymes. She, of course, loves the handsome but tongue-tied Christian, played by first-year Topher Payne. Chivalrous and selfless, Cyrano sets up an innocent deception with inspired words for Christian to win Roxane. It is only years later, when Cyrano is near the end of his life, that Roxane discovers his secret … and the soulmate she has always known.
This production, directed by Blair Anderson, strips away the high-style of the Rostand’s language and uses an abstract, minimalist set designed by 1994 alumnus Greg Loftus.
‘Langella’s adaptation is less transparent, more ambiguous’ says Loftus. ‘It is romantic, idealized, lyrical and modern. There is a balance between designers being literal and ambiguous. We use realism to lead audiences to an interpretation. We use concept to force audiences to come to their own conclusions. I hope our audiences see deep and human characters in a complex, non-literal world.’
As always, the Hilberry company delivers a solid ensemble performance; other cast members include: Vanessa Sawson (Margeurite), Christopher Call (Ragueneau), Danielle Cochrane (Lise), Edmund Alyn Jones (Le Bret), Christopher Ellis (De Guiche), Joshua Blake Rippy (Montfleury), Alec Barbour (Valvert), Andrew Papa (Carbon) and Brent Griffith (Priest).
Frank Langella’s Cyrano runs in rotating repertory at the Hilberry Theatre with The Cripple of Inishmaan and Summer and Smoke until March 20, 2012. Tickets are $12-$30 and are available by calling the Hilberry Theatre Box Office at (313) 577-2972, online, or by visiting the box office at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock.