In celebration of their 25th year, Northern Broadsides (in partnership with New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme) are opening their anniversary programme with Cyrano: a new adaptation by award-winning playwright Deborah McAndrew (An August Bank Holiday Lark). Re-igniting Edmond Rostand’s classic romantic comedy Cyrano de Bergerac, McAndew claims to have ‘jazzed it up’ for modern audiences.
Paris, 1640: this is the age of rhyming couplets and swashbuckling for the one you love. The eponymous Cyrano de Bergerac is devastatingly in love with his beautiful cousin Roxane. On most accounts, he is the perfect catch and the pair are ‘intellectual and moral equals’ (McAndrew). There’s just one thing standing in the way: Cyrano suffers from ‘body dystrophic disorder’- he is blighted by his enormous nose.
In this lively new adaptation, the lead female has been re-examined and the spoken verse has become malleable; this is a classic, for the modern audience. Conrad Nelson, who directs the piece, claims this version ‘marries the energy and vibrancy of youth with the romance and classicism of the original.’
After all, ‘the themes of love, loyalty and disguise are timeless’ (McAndrew) and the exuberant, musical performance style that characterises Northern Broadsides’ work is capable of breathing life into the most heart breaking of tales.
The thirteen-strong cast boasts a wealth of experience in theatre and film, adding performance flair to what Conrad Nelson dubs ‘a bespoke marriage of text, musicality, wit and invention.’ In the title role, Christian Edwards, who recently played Grantaire in the West End production of Les Miserable, is joined by Paul Barnhill (Brassed Off, Oldham Coliseum; The BFG, dir. by Steven Spielberg); Angela Bain (Made in Dagenham, Queens Theatre); Adam Barlow (The Merry Wives, Northern Broadsides); Andy Cryer (Consuming Passions, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough); Jessica Dyas (The Winter’s Tale, Northern Broadsides); Michael Hugo (Around the Day in Eighty days, New Vic Theatre/ Royal Exchange); Anthony Hunt (The Commitments, West End); Perry Moore (Peter Pan in Scarlet, New Vic Theatre); Francesca Mills (A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer & Star Wars: Force Awakens); Robert Wade, Andrew Whitehead (Unsung, Liverpool Everyman Theatre) and newcomer Sharon Singh as Roxane.
Opening at the New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Cyrano will play from 3rd -25th of February, before embarking on a national tour. The three-month tour (28th February until 27th May) will visit Leeds for seven performances at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, from 28th February- 4th March.