Review: Amadeus, Chichester Festival Theatre

“I heard the voice of God…and it was the voice of an obscene child”

Whilst the mere mention of Amadeus, for most people, will instantly call to mind something like

for a Europop-obsessed child of the 80s as I was, this was the only Amadeus in my world

so it is hard not to be just a little disappointed that the late lamented Falco doesn’t make an appearance somewhere in Jonathan Church’s production of Peter Shaffer’s play Amadeus at the newly renovated Chichester Festival Theatre. Instead, it is a more prosaic look at life in the eighteenth century Viennese court where resident composer Antonio Salieri has his nose well and truly put out of joint by the arrival of a young upstart by the name of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

It is told in flashback through the eyes of the embittered Salieri and it is here that the play is instantly hobbled. I rather like Rupert Everett but his monotonous delivery of the substantial amount of narration means that there’s no variation to the character at all – villain or no, he’s still allowed to be interested but instead he’s chained to an immutable interpretation here that stultifies much of the production.

Mozart, or rather Salieri’s version of Mozart, is a brattish so-and-so and in Joshua McGuire’s near- manic performance, there are flickers of life but it isn’t really enough. As ever in Chichester, the programming plays to a certain age bracket and given the synchronicity between that cohort and several of the press reviewers around, I can’t see this not being favourably reviewed but equally, I can’t see it garnering a new audience. (Then again, they’re probably all at Latitude this weekend anyway!) 

Running time: 2 hours 50 minutes (with interval)
Booking until 2nd August

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