CHRISTOPHER SMITH Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich


Amadeus? Well, Salieri too really, and David Lambert plays the role of Mozart's great rival with commitment and conviction, with feline cantankerousness and paranoia that rises to a climax of crime.

The Italian court composer is a man of talent and culture. In Peter Shaffer's drama he is confronted, then crushed by genius.

Mozart, here acted by Turlough Lloyd, has all the gifts. But they are coupled with immaturity that keeps bursting out in insane giggles, sexual tumbling, an extraordinary capacity for foot in mouth and a fondness for lavatorial terminology. To link all this with transcendental talent is enough to make ordinary mortals eat their wigs.

History provides a setting for these two excellent characterisations. Echo's of Mozart's music is another, and John Stokes invents a third with a grand set, monumental yet flexible, decorated with gold leaf and striking statues.

Director Clare Goddard takes the drama further by developing a dozen smaller parts.

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Neville Miller knows just how to combine dignity with the emperor's dottiness, and Vince Hadley conveys an impression of calm gravity as Van Swieten until he loses all patience. A quartet of young ladies conveys the gossip of Vienna with attractive vivacity.

Amadeus has been made into an excellent film. It is brave of the Maddermarket to bring the work back to the live theatre. The result is a triumph, technically and, far more important, emotionally too.

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