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Queens Chronicle

A fighter and writer whose looks are against him

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Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2019 10:30 am

Romance, chivalry and a great deal of humor are all on ample view in Titan Theatre Co.’s production of “Cyrano,” running at Queens Theatre through Feb. 17.

Adapted into a compact 75 minutes by Jo Roets from French dramatist Edmond Rostand’s 1897 classic, “Cyrano de Bergerac,” the play has also seen its roster of actors reduced to a very busy four, who somehow manage to embody most of the characters found in the original.

And, yes, there’s plenty of panache, a word said to have been introduced into the English language by the play, a fictionalized account of the life of the title character, a seventeenth-century writer.

A flamboyant confidence of style, the trait is embodied in the sentimental Cyrano, a poet and soldier most easily recognized from his protruding proboscis. He is secretly in love with his distant cousin, Roxane, a beautiful and intelligent woman with a soft spot for romance. Though he’s glib of tongue, Cyrano’s looks fill him with self-doubt, preventing him from expressing his true feelings to Roxane. Meanwhile, she falls for the much better-looking Christian, a hopelessly witless young man who has trouble putting two words together ... sometimes even one!

Nowadays, Cyrano’s situation could very easily be masked, at least temporarily, thanks to social media, where people aren’t always as they seem.

But with no internet to hide behind, he agrees to open his heart to Roxane by putting his words in Christian’s mouth as, in tandem, they woo the love of their life from the shadows beneath her balcony.

That scene, one of the best known in literature, provides one of the play’s highlights. Director Mary MacDonald-Kerr wrings every bit of pathos, crossed with laugh-out-loud antics, out of it.

In fact, throughout the play, she repeatedly draws upon the situations to evoke a full range of emotions from her actors and, in turn, the audience.

The play gets off to a memorable start, as one of the actors, Greg Brostrom, welcomes the spectators, accompanying himself quite wittily on a piano that, when least expected, provides comic relief.

Brostrom displays versatility, embodying such characters as Count de Guiche, a powerful and vengeful nobleman; the drunkard Ligniere; and Ragueneau, a friend to Cyrano.

Madison Hart makes for a beautiful Roxane and also proves convincing as her duenna, her elderly, bent-over attendant.

Andrew Garrett is properly dashing as Christian. And he proves his comedic chops in scene in which he makes repeated references to Cyrano’s outstanding facial feature.

In the title role, Tyler Moss cuts an appropriately sad figure, easily winning over the audience and, ultimately, the object of his affection. The uncredited creator of his massive nose did a creditable job.

Not to be overlooked is Moss’ engagement in a fair share of swordplay, which he handles with aplomb.

MacDonald-Kerr and the cast are to be commended, too, for the precision of their timing, sometimes changing costumes (the attractive handiwork of Anthony Paul-Cavaretta) at breakneck speed, and managing to make each entrance (often from the side of the stage) on time.

Kudos as well to fight director Molly Thomas and lighting designer Emily Clarkson. Lenny Banovez, the company’s artistic director and frequent director, designed the simple but efficient set.

Filled with horseplay, lovers’ deceptions, and, above all, romance, the play continues to appeal to modern-day audiences. And the current production’s brief running time should prove particularly appealing to the younger set, who have grown accustomed to all things short, sweet and in a continuous state of motion.

Please note that several performances have been sold out, so ordering tickets as soon as possible is advised.

‘Cyrano’
When: Thu.-Sat., Feb. 14-16, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 17, 4 p.m.
Where: Queens Theatre, 14 United Nations Ave. South, Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Tickets: $25. (718) 760-0064,

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