Cyrano | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

CYRANO, Court Theatre and Redmoon Theater, at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Jim Lasko and Charles Newell's adaptation of Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac, in a new translation by Mickle Maher, is everything a tale of courtly love should be: romantic, fantastical, touching. Allen Gilmore is superb as Cyrano, the poet who thinks his enormous nose makes him too ugly to court Roxane--but whose skill with words makes him perfect to woo her on behalf of another. At first this production's conceits--Cyrano and his rival, Christian, jointly manipulate a puppet, two people carry props to represent an entire army--seem too contrived to sustain the story's emotional burden, but soon these devices become secondary to the passionate performances. Jay Whitaker gives the tongue-tied Christian dignity and integrity while Chaon Cross's Roxane is foolish and worthy in equal measure. Lance Stuart Baker makes De Guiche a serious threat to the happiness of all; at curtain, the audience struggled to restrain the urge to hiss him.

Though Redmoon is known primarily for its work with puppets, puppetry proper makes only fleeting appearances here. But the same wit that animated Redmoon's previous spectacles is apparent in Tatjana Radisic's costumes, Scott Pondrom's props, Shoshanna Utchenik's puppets, and Stephanie Nelson's set. This show's ungainly, almost awkward stagecraft, employed in support of a romantic purpose, is a true reflection of the play itself.

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