Casanova Dreaming
Edinburgh Fringe 2018
The Play
cast & crew

The greatest master of all is Passion . . .

Asleep in bed with his first true love, nineteen-year old Giacomo Casanova is visited by an old man who shows him his future - but is what he sees a promise or a warning?

In this one-act play writer and director Martin Foreman reveals the life of the famous eighteenth-century libertine - a life more complex and varied than legend relates. Following Now We Are Pope and Tadzio Speaks . . ., Casanova Dreaming continues Martin's exploration of themes of love, loss and death that focus on the city of Venice. Adult themes; admission 16 years or older.

The production ran for three weeks (6 - 25 August - not Suns) in the Upper Theatre of
Casanova Dreaming by Martin Foreman playscript
theSpace on Niddry Street.
Live performance

The lighting is poor and the camera static, but here is a recording of a full performance. Enjoy!

Critics' Reviews

Reviews from critics sent by websites and the media ranged from hostile to middling. As often happens, critics who give more praise than blame sometimes give fewer stars than those who find more to fault than to praise. sent two critics, who gave it a one- and a two-star rating. These reviews so mischaracterised the play and displayed so many biases that the director and a member of the public were forced to respond. Full reviews and responses can be seen here (archived pdf version).

Better reviews, at least in understanding of the play, came from other online reviews. All Edinburgh Theatre (pdf version) condemned the play for being overly complex and worthy of only two stars. (pdf version) gave it the same rating, commenting that it lacked spark. A third star came from UK Theatre Web (pdf version), which complained that the production lacked passion. Finally comments, without a star rating, came from blogger Tychy (pdf version), who gave it no stars but whose experience appears to have been more positive.

The only mainstream review, in The Scotsman, was a curate's egg. On the one hand Casanova Dreaming was "handsomely mounted ... costumes are excellent ... cast don't put a foot wrong"; on the other hand the play "comes to resemble a scene from a Marx Brothers film" - a remark that we are still puzzling over. We were awarded two stars - a rating we found disappointing until we studied the critic's other reviews and found so many one- and two-stars it became clear that he approaches every production eager to condemn and reluctant to praise. Unfortunately, such is The Scotsman's influence, that this one review cost us a large potential audience that might have appreciated the play much more than the critic did.

Audience Reaction

Consolation for poor reviews came from an appreciative public. The best and most ephemeral compliments came from the long applause at the end of each performance and the comments made as the audiences left the theatre. Comments online included "Good script, well performed. Just the kind of gem we love to stumble upon at the fringe. Well worth an hour of anyone's time", "This playlet was well worth seeing ... a strong and enjoyable piece", "thoroughly entertaining. A talented cast act out a fast paced show with a tight script - always keeping the audience engaged", "a little gem ... go and see them if you have the chance", "Enjoyable and thought-provoking", "A great cast of talented actors" - all posted on the Fringe Box Office (archived pdf version). "I applaud you for an interesting production ... Well done" was a reader's riposte to the cited above.

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Founded in London in 2013, based in Edinburgh since 2014, Arbery Theatre is an occasional group of theatre creatives with a track record of successful productions.

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