Hilberry Theatre noses around with Frank Langella’s ‘Cyrano’
By SAMANTHA WHITE, Special to The Oakland Press
Read original article here.
Wayne State University’s production of Frank Langella’s “Cyrano” wins by a nose at the Hilberry Theatre this season with an amazing lead actor.
Dave Toomey, who plays Cyrano, is a force in the local theater. He has timing, presence and talent that speak of his time spent in the theater mecca, New York City, during his time at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He is just a few performances shy of Broadway stardom.
Frank Langella’s “Cyrano” is an adaptation of the play “Cyrano de Bergerac” by Edmond Rostand. Langella’s version doesn’t sacrifice the story and its dramatic impact. It instead tones it down and gives it a bit more humanity and relatability.
The lead character is a poet and soldier in love with his cousin Roxane, played by Sara Hymes. But she is in love with the inarticulate Christian, played by Topher Payne.
Cyrano believes his long nose makes him too ugly for Roxane to love. Christian knows his own inability to express himself romantically prevents him from communicating his love in a way that will appeal to his beloved.
So the two devise a plan to use Christian’s good looks and Cyrano’s poetic talents to win Roxane’s heart; and the complexities and complications begin.
The Hilberry set is basic — they utilize set pieces such as long cloths hung from the ceiling to the stage floor to emulate a tree in a garden. That may speak to the simplicity meant for Langella’s version of the show. But the moon, a light toward the front of the stage, caused some issues for the viewing audience as it illuminated the stage even during moments where there should have been a blackout. You could see characters rising between scenes after a dramatic death, for example.
The costumes aren’t the best Hilberry has to offer from its presumably extensive wardrobe.
The other actors didn’t always give Toomey the support he needed. There were a couple of scenes where it felt as if he were Michael Jordan playing basketball with a high school team.
Hymes began the first act without any emotional depth. It was hard to believe she was in love with Christian and disgusted with De Guiche, played by the engaging Christopher Ellis. But by the second act she was playing with Toomey and providing the emotional support he needed to deliver the last difficult scene.
The show is pleasing and well worth the trip to Midtown Detroit — the last scene in the garden with the cast makes it a winner.
The cast includes Vanessa Sawson as Marguerite, Christopher Call as Ragueneau, Danielle Cochrane as Lise, Edmund Alyn Jones as Le Bret, Andrew Papa as Carbon and Brent Griffith, Alec Barbour and Joshua Blake Rippy as soliders one, two and three, respectively.