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CYRANO DE BERGERAC presented by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company through Oct. 3. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening night performance.
Jeremy Dubin gives his strongest performance to date in the demanding title role. Confident and insightful, Dubin is captivating to watch. I enjoyed how De Bergerac’s bravado is played more as a statement of fact than bragging. His devotion to Roxane is complete and selfless.
Caitlin McWethy’s Roxane is genuine as the women touched to her core by Cyrano’s words. The scenes where she shares her mis-directed love for Christian (Grant Niezgodski), with her distant cousin and confidant, are heartbreaking. Jared Joplin creates a great villain as Comte de Guiche. It is his desire for Roxane’s affection that sets the tragedy in motion. Billy Chance is extremely fun as the baker-patron of poets, Ragueneau.
Director Brian Isaac Phillips uses every inch of space available to him. The staging is well-focused and dynamic. Designer Andrew J. Hungerford provides a versatile set. It transforms into a theater, a battlefield and a covent, just to name a few of the settings. The platform stage left worked well, but it read more pier than balcony to me.
The costumes and wigs are impressive and added to the richness of the production. My favorite was the bold fashion choices of the ill-fated Carbon de Castel-Jaloux (Kyle Brumley).
The nose prosthetic for Cyrano looks very good. From my seat, it appeared natural in its design and application. I did notice that in some of the night scenes, the lighting reflected differently off his face than off the appliance.
Opening night, the show did break the three-hour mark, but it didn’t seem overly long. The script is strong, and I had not realized that I didn’t know how Cyrano’s story ended. I felt that the pacing was steady, but it struggled to gain some energy, some bounce. This steady pace worked against the final scene, delaying the emotional payoff the audience has been waiting for the entire show.
Dubin’s captivating performance leads a strong cast in this romantic-tragedy of unrequited love.
My rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Cincy Shakes continues their season with another classic, the Pulitzer Prize-winning play DEATH OF A SALESMAN with Bruce Cromer as Willy Loman. I fully expect sell-out run so purchase your tickets early.
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