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Adagio Teas
   Features  >  NY Theater Reviews

at the Richard Rodgers Theatre

By Robert Cashill

  Kevin Kline as Cyrano/ PH: Carol Rosegg

Kevin Kline's proboscis is bigger than his personality in this production of Edmond Rostand's evergreen, and that is a problem. Part of it must be attributed to the director, David Leveaux, whose reflective revival of Fiddler on the Roof suffered from a similarly too-cautious approach to brassy Broadway material. But most of it falls on its star, who might have been a Cyrano for the ages had he not held back. He speaks the lines well he handles the swashbuckler side of the character adequately and at the end, as falling red leaves wreath him and his Roxane (Jennifer Garner) in eleventh-hour regret over what might have been, he is touching. But Kline, whose recent Falstaff was also a bit subdued, should have been fiercely funny, forceful, and heartbreaking in the part.

His modestly scaled Cyrano is the right size for the lovelorn Christian of Daniel Sunjata, who is pleasant and lightweight in the role, and Garner, who won't need an Alias after her competent Broadway debut but doesn't get the pulse racing, either, as the object of their affections. The reliable Max Baker, Euan Morton, and Concetta Tomei(Morton and Tomei in dual roles) shtick it up in support. The one actor who gets into the true spirit of things is Chris Sarandon, who hits all the right notes as the world-weary adversary the Comte de Guiche-but when you're more interested in that character than in the lead you really don't have a Cyrano de Bergerac.

What this production does have in abundance is marvelous design. Gregory Gale's 17th century costumes for a variety of French folk are exquisite-if they gave out Tonys for gown wearing, Garner, resplendent in green, would have the category sewn up-and Donald Holder's painterly lighting their equal. Tom Pye's unit set, with illumination-studded brick walls that reach into the rafters, an imposing staircase, and breathtaking banners and scenic curtains that come and go, is, through no fault of its own, a miscalculation. The hope must have been that Kline's charisma would match its great size. The star, however, has chosen a life-size portrayal, which gets a little lost up there. By all rights he should have been bigger than the venue's former tenant, Tarzan.


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