As you know my first time at the theatre was a few weeks back when I went to see the Wedding Singer at new theatre Cardiff
I was very lucky to be invited back to see the world premier of Casanova a ballet by Kenneth Tindall.*
I’m not going to lie I didn’t have an idea of what to expect. None at all. I was told Casanova was a player years ago. So I went last night with all the knowledge of some guy having many girlfriends. That was it. Google told me he was an Italian adventurer and author, liked the women and gambling.
I think maybe not knowing anything about what I’m going to see could be for the better as I’m never left disappointed.
Again, ballets I just think of people in spandex dancing around. I was wrong !
When the open scene started I took from it they were in a Catholic Church going back to 17th century. I think Casanova was maybe an alter boy and was going into the priesthood. Somebody has a red book that hands it over to Casanova.
That person was then in a fight, the intensity of the music told me this, ( I must have listened after all in my music lessons at school!) I must admit it was the most elegant fight I’ve seen. At this point the dancer reminded me of Assassins creed the game this takes me to France or maybe even the Vatican. So the book was a wanted book! The sisters suduce Casanova but get caught and Casanova is sent on his way with only a violin and his book.
He goes on to earn a place at a masquerade ball, for some king maybe and he meets Balletti a cellist and they leave together. But they are attacked, again the music plays a critical role in explaining its a ‘bad’ scene along side the outfits, as this again reminds me of the thieves in Assasins creed! Casanova gets left for dead as Balletti manages to escape and he gets taken back to I’m guessing the kings place where the king treats his wounds and try’s to suduce Casanova but suffered what seems to be a heart attack. When he’s better he makes Casanova his right hand man.
They are back in mass, and he receives a note, then the guy who gave him the book is being tortured. Then Casanova is being seduced again whilst the priest from the beginning is watching. We then see Casanova try to escape.
When the curtain went up I’m glad to admit I wasn’t the only one who seemed confused, obviously I’m making my own story up so don’t even know if it’s the correct story! I did see lots of people come back with the program.
The second act really confused me!
There were two women one has to dress as a man and one is being abused so leaves even leaving her baby.
We see Casanova back but dressed not so elegantly as he was so I took that to mean he escaped. Where he is now I don’t know. He seems to get his right hand man status back as he’s now throwing auditions for party. This is where we meet Balletti again, when everyone’s left he picks up his book and writes. He has a stash of papers and is taking them somewhere he meets The lady who left her baby behind he takes her home and they end up in a relationship where she gets pregnant . Telling her to wait for him, he leaves with his stack of papers, but the husband comes finds her and takes her with him. Casanova comes home to find her gone. He then goes to a group of mates, I didn’t get that part but I don’t think what he was doing was good as she returns and leaves him.
Reading through the program I was right in bits, it was set in Venice, he wasn’t a king, it was senator Bragadin. The mass was for him getting better after his stroke not a heart attack! The second scene is based in Paris. He’s taking his writing to the printers, he try’s to escape into a world of sensuality, his past haunts him so he throws himself into the abyss.
The music helped a lot in defining fighting to sexual scenes, as the dancing didn’t really come across as mean! When they were being thrown up or dragged across the floor they just looked so small and featherless. I was very impressed with the way they could move, the way they could get their bodies to intertwine so effortlessly, well it looked effortlessy! The use of props things so simple as a chair weren’t just brought on and placed they were also danced on!
I think reading the acts afterwards made everyone make more sense. The performance kept me transfixed, as if I couldn’t miss anything!
Would I go to another ballet? I’m not sure! Maybe one that I know the story so it would be easier to understand and know what’s going on, not having to worry if I was reading the wrong story. I’m glad I took my friend we made sense of it together, we still don’t know what the red forbidden book was, first up I said the bible, but being a church maybe my mates idea of the kama sutra was a better explanation?! I must admit I enjoyed myself, it was different, and at least I can say I’ve seen it. Next up has to be a play!
* I was kindly given my tickets for a review, all views are my own.