Amadeus by Peter Shaffer. National Theatre live until 22 July 2020. 4****. William Russell

A second look can change one’s mind and watching this performance of Shaffer’s celebrated play second time round I was infinitely more impressed by Lucian Msamati as Salieri, the gifted and hugely successful musician who is confronted with the genius that was Mozart and ultimately drowns in his own envy. It is a towering performance in one of those National Theatre stagings where they seem to throw everything at a play, if not the kitchen sink in this instance then an on stage orchestra. But Adam Gillen’s prancing, guttersnipe pop idol genius with his blonde mop of hair and foul moth still seems to go wildly over the top. That Mozart was no angel is not disputed, but it all depends on how you play the role and this for me was just too extravagant a performance. But there are lots of good things – as the Emperor Joseph 11 Tom Edden gives is a glorious account of a man of limited intelligence who wants to be seen as a patron of the arts, who is a patron of the arts, but is not bright enough to know what he is providing the money for and ultimately cannot be bothered with it all. The stuffy courtiers forever guarding their world of vested interests against intruders like this foul mouthed intruder are also well cast and Karla Crome, as Constanze is pitch perfect.
Anyway read the review which you can call up, all the details of cast and production are there. Indeed the play has been constantly revived so there are all the reviews Tim Ramsden posted of productions all over the country to add to your knowledge of how differently it can be done.
This Natilnal Theatre production is astimulating and exciting evening garlanded a lot of snatches of glorious music as you watch the corrosive effect being confronted with genius had on Salieri, a man with talent, ability, yet denied by the God against whom he rails of that vital spark. Did he poison Mozart? The jury is probably out on that, but he undeniably did do things to sabotage his rival’s career, although Mozart did not help himself either.
Photograph: Marc Brenner

ReviewsGate Copyright Protection