5 stars

I had no idea of what kind of show to expect, Swayed to attend by media buzz and the prospect Of seeing James McAvoy - live on stage! A welcome break from his golden age Of threequels and reboots, Green screens and CGI substitutes, Blockbuster, record-buster, So-called cinematic filibuster.

How glad was I to have witnessed something so spectacular As a (very French) love story told in British vernacular: Boy, Cyrano de Bergerac (James McAvoy), a masterful wordsmith, In love with Girl, Roxane (Anita Joy Uwajeh), brains, beauty and balls, Who’s fallen for Other boy, Christian (Eben Figueiredo), handsome and attractive, Although, unfortunately, mentally… inactive. Might I add that Cyrano is disfigured With a nose so big Pinocchio would be triggered.

Remarkably, with Jamie Lloyd’s direction and aesthetic, Cyrano appears with no olfactory prosthetic, A comment, perhaps, on self-perception – What holds us back is often of our own creation. Likewise, the stage had a minimalist air, Devoid of props, save some microphones and chairs, Turning the audience’s sole focus on Each line of the script, a linguistic phenomenon.

Highest praise to Martin Crimp, translator-adaptor, For managing to capture The magic of verse and rhyme Sorely missed from current playwriting paradigm. Through vocabulary, rhythm, accent, and meter, Each character was presented a fully-formed feature. MacAvoy shone as tortured poet, Brimming with talent and not afraid to show it. In fact, the whole cast was absolutely stunning, Although out of all of them I was mostly gunning For Nima Taleghani’s Ligniere, Whose cheeky demeanour and cockneyed diction aired A more vulnerable trait and delicate soul Than the traditional drunken-best-friend reading of the role.

Crimp’s Cyrano de Bergerac is a novel adaptation That revels in its celebration Of words and language and unpitched sound (There’s even beatboxing! I guess “in for a penny, in for a pound”), Move over Hamilton, there’s a new guy in town Looking to take your verbal gymnastics crown. His name is Cyrano de Bergerac And he’s bringing rhyming couplets back.