Updated: Friday, 24th November 2017 @ 8:08am

Review: Northern Ballet's Casanova @ The Lowry, Salford

Review: Northern Ballet's Casanova @ The Lowry, Salford

| By Edward Roberts

A night at the ballet is usually accompanied by expectations of a prim and proper production

This, however, was certainly not the case when Northern Ballet brought Casanova to The Lowry in Salford.

Instead the audience were treated to a performance that broke away from the shackles of tradition – and in the process was met with a standing ovation.

The name Giacomo Casanova is one that’s famous throughout the world. In a nutshell, the author is best-known for his countless conquests in the bedroom.

SENSUAL: Giuliano Contadini is perfectly cast as the lead

The choreography by Kenneth Tindall doesn’t shy away from this fact as it explores the man’s sexuality in a manner that is both tasteful and explicit.  

However, the production also focuses on other less-known aspects of Casanova’s life – from his dismissal from the church to his desire to become a serious writer.

It’s ultimately rather ambitious for all these elements to play out over the course of just two acts.

But in the end the action moves smoothly and consistently without giving the impression that the cast and crew have bitten off more than they can chew.

GRAND: The set and costumes are both very detailed

The narrative begins with Casanova – played by the expertly cast Giuliano Contadini – as he trains to be a priest in 18th century Venice.

In the first scene, the troupe exhibit their ability to juggle traditional ballet alongside more contemporary moves.

Every individual contributes to the routine with flawless timing and an exhilarating commitment to their craft.

However, it is the chiselled Contadini who stands out amongst the talented pack with his wispy white hair and commanding stage presence.

CONTEMPORARY: There are modern elements in the production

The dancer – himself originally from Italy – captures a whole range of emotions as he moves about the stage.

Most of all, he never fails to bring high levels of sensuality and seems to enjoy stepping into the shoes of history’s greatest lover.

Contadini’s efforts aren’t just matched by those around him, but also by the scenery and costumes.

It’s apparent that those behind-the-scenes have really gone the extra mile when it comes to capturing the extravagance of Venice and later Paris.

Surprisingly, there’s not a traditional tutu in sight either.

Then there’s the original score by composer Kerry Muzzey, which complements the action and makes the show a treat for the ears as well as the eyes.

The only forewarning ahead of this production would be to brush up on Casanova and his memoir, The History of My Life.

While the ballet alone will make it a pleasant evening, some prior understanding of the story would surely be beneficial.

*Northern Ballet’s Casanova is showing at The Lowry in Salford until Saturday, May 6. You can buy tickets HERE.