A scandalous, theatrical romp sounds like a wonderful idea for the weekend, but this particular adventure didn’t live up to its advertisement.
Written by Bill Mooney, “Casanova at Twilight” is a musical inspired by Giacomo Casanova’s memoirs and is being presented by CU Presents, a production of the school of music on campus. The musical was advertised to be a somewhat raunchy comedy with hooks like “lock up your daughters,” and “parental guidance is advised.”
Though “Casanova at Twilight” was eventful, this play fell short when it came to the scandalous and witty nature of Giacamo Casanova. The musical has few good points, but it mostly drags the audience through unnecessary aspects of Casanova’s life.
The backdrop was laced with white fabric with projected images draped the stage and gave a modern twist to the traditional painted backdrop.
The musical is told in a story-theatre fashion and all actors are onstage throughout the musical. Each actor portrays multiple characters with minimal props as the narrator unfolds the story. The show first gave a short account of Casanova’s childhood. In this scene, the director chose to focus on his encounter with a witch who, according to this portrayal, is responsible for Casanova’s lustful tendencies. From there, the musical honed in on the loves and lusts of Casanova’s life.
Occasionally scenes were thrown in that had no relevance to the musical. In between stories of his memorable women, several scenes were devoted to Pope Benedict XIV, Monsieur de Voltaire and others that didn’t have anything to do with Casanova and women. These pointless scenes drudged along disconnecting the audience from what the play was advertised to be about sex.
Throughout the first act, minimal props were used. Keeping with the style of story theatre, one or two props are used to help define certain character traits. Despite this stylistic choice, several characters mimed or replaced props that probably should
have been there, such as pen and paper, a summons and rose petals. None of these things are too expensive or hard to find.
The musical has a couple noteworthy performances. Garrett Smith does an excellent job as Young Casanova. He was both lustful and arrogant, like one assumes the Italian adventurer would be. Emily Murdock has a beautiful operatic voice that was highlighted nicely in her role as Bellino.
However, having no clear plot or a great twist to the story, I found myself lost. By intermission, I continued to have no idea where the musical was going and I found myself counting down the minutes until it was over.
The rest of the second act moved slightly quicker, but still lacked in humor and suspense. Throughout the musical, songs were oddly timed and the lyrics did not maintain a sense of excitement or comedy. Musicians often drowned out the actors and it became difficult to decipher what was being sung.
The idea of a musical about Giacomo Casanova is intriguing, but there needs to be a hook or twist to keep the audience interested. With no real appeal and limited humor, “Casanova at Twilight” is boring, disenchanted and made me yearn for more.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Crystal Anderson at Crystal.firstname.lastname@example.org.