Cyrano de Bergarac

Kenneth Branagh

Kenneth Branagh

“‘This production uses Anthony Burgess’s fine verse translation of Rostand’s ever-popular play. Cyrano is played by Kenneth Branagh, Roxane by Jodhi May and Christian by Tom Hiddleston. They make the most not only of the passion and poetry and the famously moving conclusion, but also the humour which threads through the play.”

– Radio 3

“At one point Edmund Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac is likened to Don Quixote; both of them chase windmills, in the sense that they pursue impossible dreams. This point was clearly underlined in David Timson’s production, as Cyrano (Kenneth Branagh) took a positive pleasure in constructing verbal flights of fancy. Anthony Burgess’s verse translation offered ample opportunity for Branagh to show off his vocal virtuosity; here was an actor who, like the character he played, had the capacity to draw listeners into his world of words and make them believe anything they wished. Branagh’s reading obliterated one’s memories of previous interpretations (for example, Derek Jacobi’s stage performance in the early 80s) by portraying Cyrano as someone believing in the potential for wish-fulfillment. Even though all of us might have certain handicaps, whether physical or emotional, we should make every effort to achieve our aims. Only then can we achieve some form of happiness. The ending of the production – where Cyrano passes away, having finally accomplished his dream of wooing Roxanne (Jodhi May) – was simultaneously poignant yet strangely appropriate. It seemed a shame that he had to die; but at the same time Cyrano had nothing else to live for.”