Amadeus

Tue 13th – Sat 17th October 2015

reviews

Clare Cavenagh

at 23:33 on 13th Oct 2015

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This is actually a highly brilliant production of a fabulous play, and I demand that you go and see it. It's riotously funny, heartbreakingly sad, a little bit disgusting, and very well acted. Basically a brilliant night out. In order to actually have a review without slipping into "it's lovely and gorgeous, darling," territory, I'm now going to nitpick a little, but it is nitpicking, and the take home message is absolutely go and see Amadeus. As a matter of urgency.

I hadn't seen the film, and so walked in entirely without preconceptions or expectations. I had a little musical knowledge, which helps with some of the jokes, but is entirely dispensable. Although this play is deeply comic, and the comedy was played very well (I'm looking at you, Sam Knights as Emperor Joseph, you were gangly and ridiculous and reminded me of Hugh Laurie as the Prince Regent) the story is ultimately a very tragic one, charting Salieri's jealous destruction of Mozart, and this also came across well.

Tim Vaughan's Mozart managed to handle this comedy/tragedy contrast superbly, being crude and funny and off-putting at one moment, and the next, or sometimes even at the same time, being a very tragic character indeed. The sudden rises and falls in pitch of his voice were very effective both comically, and in communicating Mozart's immaturity, and that unforgettable high cackle was skin-crawl-inducing (I mean this as a compliment). Emma Blacklay-Piech was great alongside him as Constanze, very natural, believable in her relationship with Mozart, but always remaining warm and lovable.

Joe Spence, an intense Salieri at the centre of the play, did an excellent job too, although I found him much more convincing after the flashback began and he eased into the younger character. He was a great straight man, playing against all the cartoons around him, and by the end, in spite of it all, the audience couldn't help but be with him.

The opening night of Amadeus, although it featured a few little first-go jitters and mix-ups, and for the moment, the first act feels a little more assured than the second, was a triumph, and was met with the thunderous (though brief, this is the ADC) applause it merited. I can highly recommend it, and I highly congratulate all involved.

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Kavi Pau

at 00:12 on 14th Oct 2015

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It is never an easy task for a student contingent to take on the challenge of such an emotionally onerous and demanding piece as Amadeus. Despite the prestige of an Oscar winning motion picture in its midst, Hazel Lawrence's production cleverly capitalises on the youth of the cast, without deviating from the crux of Schaffer's story.

Tim Vaughan impressed as Mozart, managing to capture both the childish naivety and the mild insanity, which plagued the great composer throughout his life. Vaughan's ability to switch back and forth between innocent frivolities and more serious passages was sometimes very effective. In one telling speech, he has the audience in the palm of his hand whilst glorifying German art, before releasing a fart sound and the tension in the room with it. It was a slight shame to not see more of Mozart's more serious side; Vaughan is evidently capable of portraying it.

Despite Vaughan's successes, the night truly belonged to Joe Spence, who was phenomenal in the role of Salieri, Mozart's mediocre rival. The emotional range of the role is big enough to put most actors off but Spence had no problem displaying the admiration and envy of the musical genius he both idolises and detests. Although slightly inconsistent when switching between the old and young Salieri, he maintains tension throughout all of his dialogue and convinces the audience to sympathise with his wretched situation.

Of the minor characters, Sam Knights played Emperor Joseph with generous humour, and Emma Blacklay-Piech, after a slow start, excelled in the role of Constanze. Sometimes the dialogue moved much too quickly and this was especially the case with the venticellos. Although Abigail Smith and Gabriel Agranoff played their parts well and provided much amusement to the audience, they were often reiterating the narrative already provided by Spence.

The set design, lighting and musical extracts suited the piece brilliantly and transformed the ADC auditorium into a Viennese court, fit for the drama that the cast provided. It was unfortunate that the stage assistants were so often required to enter mid-scene in full view of the audience, which detracted from the professionalism of the performance.

Overall a thoroughly enjoying evening and a moving tale of genius and jealousy well told. Bravo!

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