April 2nd’s production of Amadeus, by Peter Shaffer, certainly was what you would expect of a production of the National Theatre at the Lunario, and leaves you on the edge of your seat. As always, interpretation and follow through have never been a weak spot of most of the National Theatre’s productions, and this would not be the case either.
Having seen a much earlier production of Amadeus, and securing the soundtrack, I knew even at its worst I was in for something extraordinary. That did not even begin to describe the impact of Shaffer’s Amadeus. The combination of modern to classic, the factions within factions that worked against each other constantly, were just a few of the highlights that allowed this production to steer you back into a nonfiction and fictionalized production of Amadeus. All these years, of course I thought the rivalry between Antonio Salieri and Mozart, had been a reality. of course there might have been a slight animosity, but when you find most of this is highly fictionalized, and that in moments each composer supported each other in various performances, much of the trepidation and deceit was fictionalized, and I realized, I never had even heard anything by Antonio Salieri – and when you do- you realize what a talent Antonio Salieri brought to composing.
Yes, Lucian Msamati, in the role of Salieri, who I have never seen before on stage – stunning and straight to the heart from the very beginning. As for Adam Gillen – his contrasts to Salieri and poignant thoughts on life that did not mesh into the German styles of opera and composing – it fueled the power that Msamati brought to the stage as Salieri. He was everything that you would hope Amadeus would be and more.
The set was dark, yet full of life, and death, able to shift as you would imagine the set would shift for any theatre in London, Vienna, or in Europe at the time, and the touch that only a set of The National Theatre could create, seemed to add to the life and death of this staged performance. Play on Mozart, play on for sure.