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Amadeus (National Theatre) or crying more the second time around

Review: Amadeus National Theatre screen shot Poly urged me to see Amadeus last year after I missed seeing it with her and I was so glad she did, I gave it five stars.

So when it was announced it was returning this year, I had to see it again. Would it live up to the very fond memories I had?

What I liked so much about Amadeus the first time wasn't just the spectacle - the costumes, live music, beautiful snippets of opera, the craziness and craft of the production - but how it packed an unexpected emotional punch.

This time I knew what was coming, and that made it so much worse. Happier scenes took on a bitter taste. I started seeing shadows where before I'd seen light.

There was a poignancy to the music that hadn't been to perceptible to my ears first time around.

It becomes a tragedy in slow motion and one I was powerless to stop. When you don't know the story, you can hope for a different outcome, perhaps even expect it.  

At the interval I overheard a woman saying how she found the character of Mozart annoying. 'Just you wait,' I thought. 'You'll feel sorry or pity for him in the end.'

Even before the first devastatingly mournful bars of Mozart's Requiem composition were played I had a lump in my throat and tears welling in my eyes.

Long afterwards a bitter sweet feeling lingered; the euphoria of a seeing a great piece of theatre mixed with the sadness of the story.


Amadeus is also a cruel play to watch because you can't always take in everything going on, not least the superb performances.

When Lucian Msamati (Salieri) and Adam Gillen (Amadeus) are both on different parts of the stage, you can't take in both at the same.

Even when Adam Gillen is conducting the orchestra with his back to the audience I could watch for him for hours. When Lucien Msamati is talking over the music you want to hang on every word. It's frustrating and invigorating trying to take in both.


Amadeus is on the Olivier Stage at the National Theatre until 24 April and it is 3 hours including an interval.