The expansive dimensions of the ASB Waterfront Theatre offer a grand setting for ATC's spectacular and highly entertaining production of Peter Shaffer's celebrated stage play.

Amadeus uses a fictionalised account of Mozart's career in Vienna as the springboard for a compelling psychological study of the destructive power of envy.

A boldly conceived set design by Ella Mizrahi eschews the grandeur of the period and conjures up a surreal dream-scape that focuses attention on the inner workings of the artistic imagination.

Oliver Driver's direction orchestrates the talents of a diverse group of practitioners to present an exuberantly theatrical interpretation of the play.

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In the role of Salieri, court composer to the Hapsburg emperor, Michael Hurst summons the epic passions of Greek tragedy and his anguish over the mediocrity of his musical talent carries all the existential weight of Job's protest to God. In lighter moments Hurst's superb vocal inflections capture the sardonic bitterness of a social climber who masks his provincial origins by mocking the vulgarity of his bourgeois companions and proudly asserting the superiority of his refined sensibilities.

Ross McCormack's portrayal of Mozart is an absolute triumph as he employs a dazzling repertoire of expressive gestures to evoke the paradox of sublime artistic genius trapped within the damaged psyche of a petulant, socially awkward child.

The supporting roles are played with aplomb with Morgana O'Reilly bringing a robust earthiness to Mozart's wife while Byron Coll revels in the high camp extravagance of the emperor Joseph II.

A fine musical ensemble is artfully woven into the fabric of the drama and if Leon Radojkovic's modernised score occasionally allows electronic grunge to overwhelm the exquisite lightness of Mozart's music there is abundant compensation in the finesse of soprano Madison Nonoa's wonderful singing.

What: Amadeus
Where & When: ASB Waterfront Theatre to May