Saturday, 19 July 2014

Review: Amadeus, Chichester Festival Theatre

“I heard the voice of God…and it was the voice of an obscene child”

Whilst the mere mention of Amadeus, for most people, will instantly call to mind something like
for a Europop-obsessed child of the 80s as I was, this was the only Amadeus in my world
so it is hard not to be just a little disappointed that the late lamented Falco doesn’t make an appearance somewhere in Jonathan Church’s production of Peter Shaffer’s play Amadeus at the newly renovated Chichester Festival Theatre. Instead, it is a more prosaic look at life in the eighteenth century Viennese court where resident composer Antonio Salieri has his nose well and truly put out of joint by the arrival of a young upstart by the name of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

It is told in flashback through the eyes of the embittered Salieri and it is here that the play is instantly hobbled. I rather like Rupert Everett but his monotonous delivery of the substantial amount of narration means that there’s no variation to the character at all – villain or no, he’s still allowed to be interested but instead he’s chained to an immutable interpretation here that stultifies much of the production.

Mozart, or rather Salieri’s version of Mozart, is a brattish so-and-so and in Joshua McGuire’s near- manic performance, there are flickers of life but it isn’t really enough. As ever in Chichester, the programming plays to a certain age bracket and given the synchronicity between that cohort and several of the press reviewers around, I can’t see this not being favourably reviewed but equally, I can’t see it garnering a new audience. (Then again, they’re probably all at Latitude this weekend anyway!) 

Running time: 2 hours 50 minutes (with interval)
Booking until 2nd August


Michael Gray said...

agree that this was a disappointing production - and I belong in that Chichester age bracket [old enough to have seen Schofield do his Salieri]. But we took our daughter and son-in-law [not theatre fans by any means] and they both loved it.


Michael Gray [sometime TPR colleague]

Ralph said...

I loved the production at CFT.
Enjoy it instead of looking for a reason to fault it.

Sandy Lane said...

Sadly I have to agree, Everett's Salieri didn't work for me - too monotone, not convincing with his transition between middle and old age and most irritating was the constant noisy intake of breath. A wonderfully dominant figure on stage and generally rounded actor but where was the musician?

Excellent staging and great atmosphere in the revamped theatre (shame we had to wait 10 minutes at the start to seat a group of 50 latecomers, all in the standard Chichester age group which is why it took so long).