January 19, 2006
Theatre review: Amadeus
By Charlie McBride
St. Nicholas' Collegiate Church provided an atmospheric setting last
week for Kelly Colleen McMahon's production of Amadeus, Peter
Shaffer's celebrated play on the life of Mozart and his ill-starred
relationship with fellow-composer Antonio Salieri.
Salieri, who has risen to be Imperial court composer, is initially
full of admiration for Mozart's prodigious talent. But his admiration
turns to envy, then to murderous hatred as he contrasts Mozart's extravagant
ingenuity with his own meagre abilities.
Salieri - who narrates much of the story - sets out to destroy Mozart
and ultimately succeeds in murdering him. The play is as much about
Salieri's downfall as Mozart's. Even before his murder, Mozart is
already bedeviled by poverty, having fallen out of fashion with his
Viennese audience. Salieri is eaten up by his abiding hatred, a passion
that corrodes his soul - though even to the last he continues to recognise
While the play was nearly half an hour late in starting, once under
way Kelly Colleen McMahon gave us an inventive, fluidly paced, and
engaging staging of Shaffer's script. It did suffer somewhat from the
church's echoing acoustics which meant that actors' lines weren't
always fully audible.
However the production benefited from strong performances by its
three principals; Morgan Cooke as Mozart, Helen Gregg as his wife
Constanze and, especially, Patrick Curley as Salieri. They were ably
supported by Ronan McMahon, Matt Kelly, Shane McDermott, Martin Sullivan,
Aileen Bradley, and Lisa Daly as assorted members of the imperial
court. Praise is also due to Joan Brennan's costumes. We look forward
to Ms. McMahon's next production.