Amadeus: Keep Your Friends Close
Haunted by the ghosts of his past, a fragile figure reflects on an elaborate prison of his own making.
So opens Ross Gumbley's sumptuous interpretation of Peter Shaffer's multi-award-winning fictionalised play fuelled by the clash of egos between the self-sacrificing, aging Antonio Salieri (John Bach) and effortless genius of brash young upstart Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Guy Langford).
Coarse, crass and filled with the impatience of youth, Mozart's arrival ignites a self-loathing in the older musician who, having renounced all for his craft, is mortified to learn his God has chosen the vulgar man-child as his vessel.
Befriending the precocious talent, Bach is in fine form here as the exasperated, forsaken and conniving older man hell-bent on, literally, burying the competition and brushing aside pangs of guilt.
Making his Court Theatre debut in the titular role, Langford doesn't so much tread the boards as tear them up with a performance worthy of an energy drink endorsement as the over-the-top fop and self-described 'jackass'.
In a display of near hysteric giggles and furniture jumping not seen since Tom Cruise's infamous Oprah interview, Langford embodies the anachronistic, talented and cocksure court jester baffled as to why his undeniable talent goes wanting, yet Salieri's soars on mediocrity.
Set in a time when powdered wigs, painted-on beauty spots, heaving bosoms and, of course, decandent sweets and cakes were de rigueur, Amadeus is an engaging, witty and self-aware romp.
Brimming with exquisite 18th Century costumes, a spellbinding set oscillating between moments of stunning beauty and barely-veiled menace, and a cast on pointe, this is theatre at its very best.
Amadeus runs to 15 Jun, Mon & Thu 6:30pm, Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat 7:30pm, & matinee 2pm Sat 25 May.
Tickets from www.courttheatre.org.nz