Salieri cannot understand why this should be after his years of devotion and clean living and bitterly he vows to revenge himself on God by destroying his puppet Mozart. He blocks Mozart’s advancement in every way while pretending to be sympathetic and helpful, although this gives him little pleasure as he is one of the few people with an ear good enough to recognise how wonderful Mozart’s music really is. And, in spite of all he does, the music pours effortlessly out of Mozart. He destroys Mozart but realises he has not achieved what he wanted and cannot then get absolution. To achieve lasting fame, even if it is infamy, he tries to spread the rumour that he killed Mozart but he is not believed, He tries to slit his own throat but he fails. He is truly the god of mediocrity.
Prasanna Puwanarajah’s Salieri is a soft-spoken, sophisticated man who can charm with clever words but who knows his own failings. Prasanna Puwanarajah is utterly convincing in this pivotal role: we follow the changes he goes through, the pain he feels but hides from others. I don’t know whether his voice would suffice for a large auditorium but in this intimate theatre it is perfect.
The contrast with Mozart is consequently all the more striking: the brash puppy with his foul tongue and silly laugh is convincingly portrayed by Richard Graylin; he is a spoilt boy but not a bad one and his gratitude to Salieri for perceived favours is as touching as his gradual decline into sickness and madness is heart-breaking.
Madeleine Dodds is a sweet Constanze with the right mixture of silly and sensible and the other parts are played by a good supporting cast. I wish I knew who Green Bear Productions were! The costumes are sumptuous but the set is absolutely simple – nothing distracts from the performances on stage.
I highly recommend this wonderful production.