Amadeus tells the story of the last years of Mozart’s life, when he was living in Vienna, and of his death, possibly at the hands of his rival composer Salieri. The play was written by Peter Shaffer and in 1984 made into a successful, Oscar winning film by Miloš Forman.The play is about Mozart’s life and death and the contrast between his god-given powers as a composer and his failings as a human being. However, although the play is about him, we see the story entirely through the memories of Court Composer Salieri, Mozart’s great rival, and just how reliable are these?The play starts with Salieri as an old man. Mozart has been dead for over thirty years but Salieri still feels haunted by him and wants to confess to, or perhaps glory in, his part in Mozart’s death. We are then told the story in flashback. At first we see Salieri as a young man, asking God for the talent to write music and promising to lead a chaste life in exchange. All goes well for him and ultimately he becomes Court Composer to Emperor Joseph II in Vienna. However, his contentment ends when Mozart arrives in Vienna. He first sees Mozart off-stage and discovers that he’s irreverent, lewd and childish. However, Salieri recognises that Mozart’s musical skills are immensely superior to his and he becomes angered that God has made Mozart a genius while he is only mediocre. He loses his faith and decides to do whatever he can to harm or even kill Mozart.This production is gripping and tense. The crucial character of Salieri, who is on-stage for almost every moment, is played extremely well by Scott Wilson. He gives a completely convincing performance as a stiff-backed courtier in a formal court environment, who’s probably never let himself relax in his whole adult life. In complete contrast, Will Hudson’s Mozart manages to combine fanatical devotion to his music with extreme coarseness and silliness. His relationship with his fiancee and then wife, Constanze, played by Rose Reynolds, comes over as very real and intense. An excellent production.

Reviews by Alan Chorley

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The Blurb

A sumptuous revival of Shaffer's classic tale of Mozart, malice and murder by the award-winning vocational training school.

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