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Theatre Review: Amadeus @ The National Theatre


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Amadeus tells the story of lives of composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri. It tells of their triumphs and pitfalls but ultimately focuses on Salieri’s vicious jealousy and strive for fame.

The narrative of Peter Shaffer's play is focused from the point of view of Salieri; in his last hour of life he retells the story of his relationship with Mozart.

The grandeur of the production ensures the audience are offered a visually stunning show. The Olivier stage at the National Theatre is tiered to give the sense of a theatre within a theatre. The centre of the stage at times drops in order to facilitate and give the impression of an orchestra pit for when Mozart shows his work.

The costumes, though not all in keeping with the period, are a joy; each costume captures each character’s qualities.

In any tale focused on a musician as great as Mozart the actual musicians playing tribute have to be up to the same par as the actors. The ensemble cast do not disappoint. Having the musicians on stage throughout adds another level of authenticity. Regrettably, the cast suffered some technical issues during this performance. Adam Gillen (Mozart) is not a pianist and unfortunately the sound queues were lost meaning the keys were hit and no sound came out of the piano. But his sublime comic timing saved the moment and luckily all was resolved.

Lucian Msamari as Salieri is a powerhouse from start to finish. A story told in his point of view, he commands the stage and holds the audience in the palm of his hand. His intensity and embodiment of the character was no less than brilliant. Even in his most desperate moments he is still the strongest presence in any room. Perfectly controlled.

Adam Gillen as Mozart offers us a great contrast to Lucian. He is a sheer bundle of energy and captures Mozart, the over-grown child, with vigour and attack. As soon as he steps on stage you are drawn to him. Comedic excellence and perfect timing he owned the role and the stage. Two polar opposing characters who both capture your attention in very different ways.

Gillen's most truthful moments came when he portrayed Mozart's decent into madness. He maintained the boyish playfulness that dominated the character but upon the surface was his sheer vulnerability.

Karla Crome as Mozart's wife, Constance Weber, was just as strong as her male counterparts. Again, wonderful comic timing, and she showed wonderful chemistry with Gillen. She is truthful and controlled within the humour and you are as invested in her story as 'wife' as you are in both leading men.

In all, Amedeus is funny, emotive and a staggeringly beautiful production.

The play is set to run from 19th October until 26th January 2017 at The National Theatre.

Tickets can be purchased here: 

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