Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Out and About in Philly: Cyrano at the Arden theatre

Our night on the town Chocolate group photo

Lovely Tuesday here in Philly today! Yes, I'll admit we were being spoiled by the unseasonal warm weather from last week. Sandals were on, coats were off and I ran off to the local specialty store to make my occasional "Shea Butter purchase" For those of you who don't know about shea butter, it helps to keep the chocolate skin nice, smooth, hydrated, and glistening in the warm sun! It is an absolute necessity for this upcoming summer. Tee hee

Amongst those things I was blessed to catch up with my good friends/ fellow Chocolate Representative member Christopher! (Pictured on the right hand side of our group photo with the pearly whites showing *Pinches his little cheeks*) 
Chris has recently sent to me his review for a play called Cyrano which is at the Arden Theatre from March 8th through April 15th. He has inspired me to take a day to myself to see this since it has been a while since I've been to an enjoyable play. Arden Theatre is located in the Olde City area of Philly. It promotes productions, drama school to children and teens, workshops as well as showcases. With that being said, I shall say no more and let Chris have the floor. 
Take a look at his review! 

In theater, they say that performing comedy is much harder than performing drama. Comedic timing is something tremendously hard to master. But be that as it may, the Arden Theatre Company did a highly competent job in their current adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s French classic Cyrano. 

For the uninitiated, Cyrano is the timeless story of the swashbuckling hero with the legendarily huge nose. Cyrano falls in love with the beautiful Roxane, who unfortunately only has eyes for the dashingly good-looking Christian. However, he uses the seductive power of his poetry to selflessly help Christian win Roxane’s affection. 

This production, translated by Michael Hollinger and directed by Aaron Posner, has been ruthlessly whittled down to a cast of only nine. But each actor’s skill definitely keeps the audience invested despite the fact that it was originally written to be played by a cast of dozens. The charming set design, courtesy of Daniel Conway is very whimsical and reminiscent of something out of a Tim Burton film and the actors use every inch of it very handily. Audiences should also be aware that they use the entire theater for the show (prepare to get heckled once or twice by the performers if you’re sitting in the front row).  So the whole experience is very intimate. And given the setup of the theater, there isn’t a bad seat in the house.

The lead actors – Eric Hissom, Jessica Cumming, and Luigi Sottile – do an excellent job in their roles (Cyrano, Roxane, and Christian respectively). But the best one-liners belong to Scott Greer when he’s cross-dressing onstage as Desiree, Roxane’s dutiful nursemaid.

The only slightly disappointing element in this production is the fight choreography. The first fight scene set viewers up to believe it was going to be as elegant and lyrical as the translation. But after the brilliant initial battle that introduces Cyrano to the audience, it subsequently fell flat. Nonetheless, the wordplay in the rest of the show far outweighs the swordplay, and everyone who comes to see the performance will be pleased. This is not to be missed by anyone who is a fan of Rostand’s beloved original and fans of a straightforward, well-orchestrated comedy.

Cyrano will play on the Otto Hass Stage at the Arden Theatre Company through April 15, 2012. Tickets are $29-45 (discounts available).

By: Christopher-Sebastian McJetters