Review: Casanova at Norwich Theatre Royal

Dreda Blow as Bellino and Giuliano Contadini as Casanova in Casanova. Photo Emma Kauldhar

Dreda Blow as Bellino and Giuliano Contadini as Casanova in Casanova. Photo Emma Kauldhar - Credit: Emma Kauldhar

This sumptuous new ballet from Northern Ballet focuses on Italy's famous romancer, seeking to recast him as a man as much of letters and emotion as of energetic rutting.

Christopher Oram's set and costumes and Alastair West's lighting are as crucial to the piece as Kenneth Tindall's choreography, giving us the gilded splendour of Venice and Paris in glorious form.

The movement is fluid and compelling but lacks sensation in places: the Inquisition menace through interpretative dance rather than brute force; Casanova's final descent into sexuality is too neat.

Elsewhere Giuliano Contadini, in the lead, sparkles with his seductions of the Savorgnan sisters (Abigail Prudames and Minju Kang) and his hidden beau Bellino (Dreda Blow). The orgiastic masquerade ball is finely staged too.

Northern Ballet have created a visual feast but the underlying narrative lacks heart. That gilding only goes so deep.


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James Goffin

Casanova continues until Saturday.

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