Chichester Festival Theatre
Highlight of the Shaffer season, and grand opener for the renewed main house, a spectacular, starry Amadeus.
Marble floor, crystal chandeliers, and a baroque proscenium arch at the back acting as a sort of light box for inner scenes – it looks wonderful. The performances, by comparison, sometimes seem a little underpowered, though Jonathan Church's stylish production is never less than engaging.
Rupert Everett's saturnine Salieri – dry, academic but driven by ambition – morphs brilliantly from deathbed to heyday in an instant, raven wig on, cloak off, scoffing Italian sweetmeats and moving smoothly through the impeccably realised Viennese court. And, memorably, delivering his last lines tied to a post in a strait-jacket.
Joshua McGuire is a slightly faded, puffy, powdered epicene Amadeus, with Jessie Buckley impressive as his young wife – her mad scene especially effective.
Among the huge supporting cast, Simon Jones as the Emperor, and Chichester stalwart John Standing as Orsini-Rosenberg.
A champagne aperitif to a season which will also bring us two smash-hit musicals [Guys and Dolls and Gypsy], An Ideal Husband with Pat Routledge, and 101 Dalmatians for Christmas.
Simon Higlet's set design