Scotland reviews 31 items
Cyrano de Bergerac at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh
What I love about the Scots is that they have such a strong identity, and they are not afraid to flaunt it. They are proud of their traditions, their rich culture, and striving to keep this culture alive and kicking in the 21st century is the National Theatre of Scotland, whose productions are often performed in the Scots tongue.

Cyrano de Bergerac is one of these. Together with the Royal Lyceum and Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre (what a pedigree!), the NTOS has used Scottish poet Edwin Morgan’s translation to produce an exhilarating, colourful and quirky version of Edmond Rostand’s original French script, written in 1897, about a strong-willed man of many talents whose big nose, nevertheless, causes him to doubt himself and therefore unable to express his love for his distant cousin Roxane.

I’ve listened to the Scots tongue throughout my adult life by way of Robert Burns and his numerous portrayals by actor John Cairney (who, incidentally, played Cyrano de Bergerac in Newcastle in 1974!). But I am a Sassenach, so I don’t always understand it. I do love, however, the rhythm of this production’s dialogue, and the throwaway lines in modern Scots, which are just hilarious. And as the evening wore on my ears did become more attuned.

But this isn’t something just for Scots. It’s visually exciting. Legendary Scottish fashion designer Pam Hogg’s costumes are certainly controversial – Doc Martens seem to be the order of the day, even on 17th century bewigged and powdered Count de Guiche (played by winner of Scotland’s Best Actor Award Keith Fleming whose portrayal of a drunk is so good it is uncomfortable), and a few nuns! The Parisian berets and black polo-necks in a Parisian scene and the parred down kilts of the soldiers add to the fun element, along with the continuing Scots theme – was it a Tunnocks tea cake which ended up on someone’s nose? Were the troops really eating Scotch pies and drinking Irn Bru? I have a feeling the Citizen's artistic director Dominic Hill had a lot of fun directing this.

The impassioned way the actors deliver their lines also sets this production apart, especially Brian Ferguson’s title role. A well-seasoned trouper who has worked with all the major theatre companies, even though I didn’t always know what he was saying he had me hanging on his every word; I was transfixed. His stage presence and power, for me, puts him on a par with Mark Rylance. Cyrano’s death scene had me holding my breath.

Cyrano de Bergerac is at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh until November 3.

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