Tuesday, 25 November 2014
THE GENESIAN THEATRE’S ‘AMADEUS’ dissected by Rhiona
The story of Amadeus begins with Antonio Salieri, a well-known composer of the early 19th Century who, on his deathbed, declares that he murdered Mozart. It is an interesting tale filled with jealousy, questioning of faith and crippling despair. And yet, this production only really managed to grapple with a few of those key concepts. All the elements were there, but the stakes just weren’t high enough.
We begin the play with Venticello and Venticella, the court whims who are gossiping about the news. That was probably the most interesting part of the play. They were vibrant and energized but that’s all you needed from them.
In terms of the design, I’m unsure- were the few too many beauty spots deliberate? Were the miscellaneous chairs a choice or budget problem? It didn’t feel intentional enough so it almost seemed like a mistake. And that can be said for the details of costumes and the set. I can assume that the imperfection is a comment on the rancor of the period, or perhaps a metaphor for the rotten state of the society; the imperfection reflects the decay of harmony. Maybe, but I’m not convinced.
There was an interesting dynamic between Jasper Garner-Gore as Mozart and Nicole Wineberg as Constanze- a playful and childlike interaction that made for a few brief laughs. But it lacked substance, it lacked another dimension. It was slapstick and foolish, which one might argue is Mozart’s character. But I think the play becomes more interesting when Salieri has to fight for us to favour his plight.
Salieri in this production was played by Nick Hunt, who brings a rather Faustian element to the story. He delivered a very strong performance and yet the production didn’t support him.
One of the production’s major downfalls was the music. In a play that centres around the works of great composers, it was a shame to see Elia Bosshard as Katherina Cavalieri miming, poorly, to an aria. If lip-syncing was the ONLY option, maybe listening to the music and attempting to make similar vowel shapes would be a good idea.
The Genesian’s performance of Amadeus fell short. In many ways it just feels ambitious. Too much time spent on costume and set design, meant characterisation felt underdone. The production had a few strengths but were sadly overshadowed by a lack of attention to detail.