A welcome return to the Bristol Old Vic for Tristan Sturrock as the swashbuckling poet with a tongue as sharp as his sword and a notorious nose for love
Cyrano loves Roxanne, but his giant nez prevents him from declaring his feelings, resorting instead to hiding behind the handsome but prosaic fellow Gascon cadet, Christian. Roxanne is seduced, but is it by Christian’s face or Cyrano’s words?
Tom Morris (Touching the Void) directs this new verse production of the 19th century classic written by Peter Oswald, former playwright in residence at Shakespeare’s Globe. It’s packed with Old Vic regulars, including Bristol resident Tristan Sturrock (Peter Pan, Kneehigh’s Brief Encounter, Poldark) as a magnetic Cyrano, surely one of theatre’s most heart-breaking heroes.
We open on a group of (mainly bearded) singing nuns, and an elderly Cyrano looking back on his life. Cross casting is now par for the course, but these ladies feel a rather more Python than modern update.
Sturrock is supported by comic turns a-plenty, notably with Miltos Yerolemouan’s entertaining Raguneau performing a slinky dance version of an almond tart recipe.
The cast have an easy familiarity with the theatre, bundling past and engaging in eye contact with unsuspecting audience members.
At times, the comedy and music has more than a hint of panto and even includes a sing-along – so go prepared ready to join in.
Cyrano is on at the Bristol Old Vic until Sat 16 Nov.
Bristol Old Vic, King Street, Bristol BS1 4ED. Box office 0117 9877877. bristololdvic.org.uk
Words: Rosie Meachin. Photos: Geraint Lewis.