Tony Tanner's Charlatan

Tony Tanner is a man with an illustrious theatrical history, who amongst other things received two 'Tony' nominations for his work on Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat. This show is most likely the result of his long time enthusiasm for Serge Diaghilev, a very famous figure in the world of dance in the early part of the twentieth century. He impersonates Diaghilev as if he has just woken not knowing if he is alive or dead, but in a place that resembles his beloved Venice – and with an audience. He proceeds to tell us the history of his life, fairly chronologically. The early part is descriptive, and the names of many famous people of the period are mentioned – Cocteau, Chanel, Stravinsky and of course Nijinsky, the great dancer who appears as the love of Diaghilev’s life, and there is some fire and passion at several points where encounters with Nijinsky are described.However, this is largely an account of the life that will be familiar to those with an interest in the subject; many will at least know of the notorious masturbation incident at the end of Apres midi d’un faun – which is retold with some relish. If the story had been created more impressionistically or less chronologically, or had focused only on the art (for me one of the best moments was the retelling of the Petrushka story, and the uncertainty about how to end it – and the music to this ballet is so good – a little more music, and not just a bit of Sheherazade, please!) the show could have been improved.In short, more imagination, please. Great art and a great artist are the subjects. This show is likely to draw people with an existing interest in the man portrayed – and they are likely to learn little new or receive many new insights. They will hear mention of many famous names, but they will encounter few fresh ideas.

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The Blurb

A lush, sexy revealing of the journey of the world's greatest impresario, Sergei Diaghilev. An orgy of life, loves, art and loss voiced by the master himself. Celebrate the centenary of Ballets Russes' storming Paris, changing the world's art.

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