Cyrano de Bergerac
Edmond Rostand's 1897 sentimental fairy tale romance "Cyrano de Bergerac" is not so much a great play as it is a durable star vehicle for a skilled actor who can handle rhymed verse, swordplay and a giant prosthetic nose.
Consider, for instance, a 2007 Broadway revival starring Kevin Kline and a miscast Jennifer Garner. Although the production fell flat, it at least served as a showcase for Kline's prowess for physical roles.
The Roundabout Theatre Company's new production proves to be not as fortunate in its casting of Douglas Hodge, an indulgent English actor who inexplicably won a Tony Award for the recent revival of "La Cage Aux Folles."
The play observes how Cyrano, a talented poet, satirist and soldier, is so self-conscious of his gigantic nose that he cannot bring himself to confess his attraction to his cousin Roxane (Clémence Poésy).
Instead, he generously aids Christian (Kyle Soller), a handsome but dimwitted soldier, in winning Roxane, who is also being sought by the unlikable Comte de Guice (Patrick Page). In the play's most famous scene, Cyrano feeds lines to Christian from the shadows as Christian attempts to woo Roxane.
As staged by Jamie Lloyd, an English director making his Broadway debut,this "Cyrano" comes off as an irritating bore.
The most interesting part turns out to be Cyrano's nose, which is traditionally depicted as narrow and long, but here is round, thick, bumpy and gross.
Hodge awkwardly mixes buffoonish behavior and a barking voice with a handful of sensitive moments.
Page, who most recently played the Green Goblin in "Spider-Man," gives a characteristically crisp performance, while Poésy shows off an assured spirit.
If you go: "Cyrano de Bergerac" plays at the American Airlines Theatre through Nov. 25. 227 W. 42nd St., 212-719-1300, roundabouttheatre.org.