St James Theatre 2, Wellington

02/03/2016 - 07/03/2016

New Zealand Festival of the Arts 2016

Production Details

La Verità is an experience that’ll have you gasping as much at its imaginative feats as its physical ones. Daniele Finzi Pasca has overseen not one but two Winter Olympics closing ceremonies so knows how to stage a spectacular show.

This one has you entering the world of a surrealist painting, with its heady mix of acrobatics, theatre, dance and music performed against the monumental Salvador Dalí backdrop that sparked the show.

But where Dalí was inspired by nightmares, Compagnia Finzi Pasca’s “gaze is always charmed, inspired by dreams”. This is a dream you won’t want to wake from, as the agility of mind and body displayed by these cirque veterans leaves you breathless.

Tickets: $39.00–$89.00

Compagnia Finzi Pasca, Switzerland

Cirque-aerial-theatre , Circus ,

2 hrs 5 mins

Polished entertainment but not at all Dali-esque

Review by Jillian Davey 03rd Mar 2016

In November 2012, the long-forgotten Dali scrim “Tristan et Iseult” was gifted to Daniele Finzi Pasca, after being bought and restored by an anonymous benefactor.  The huge piece of art (9 x 15m) was commissioned by the New York Metropolitan Opera House in 1944 for the ballet Tristan Fou and is instantly recognisable as a Dali painting; grotesque, nightmare-ish, and surreal in the true sense of the word.

Finzi Pasca, of Swiss circus theatre company Campagnia Finzi Pasca, then used it as the impetus of the show, La Verita.  So you’d think the imagery and feel of such a mysterious and immense art work would extend to the performance. Not so in La Verita.  While Dali motifs are employed throughout (and even some over-obvious Dali masks) the world of La Verita and the world of Dali are estranged here. 

To be fair, the circus, dance and musical skills, as well as the production values are top notch.  The cast is multitalented and expressive.  Lighting and set design are world class.  And also to be fair, director Finzi Pasca has been quoted that the show is “not the truth according to Dali, but the truth inspired by Dali”, but I believe Dali admirers will be disappointed by this interpretation.  It leans heavily on the silly and flippant.  “All gag and no bite”, I scribble in my notebook. 

While visually, La Verita is impressive at every turn, there are far too many of those turns to hold any sense of grounding.  It bounces from act to act with little to no narrative through-line.  Sometimes the interlude clown scenes give us a brief history of the Dali scrim, sometimes they set the scene as an art auction to raise money for the “poor decrepit theatre and circus artists”, and sometimes we’re given some really beautiful monologues about memory and being “a little bit scared when we come to the end”.  Just one of these carried out fully would have sufficed.

Despite its shortcomings as a piece of physical theatre, it will impress and delight most audiences- as proven by the opening night audience who were quick to applaud and agape at just about everything presented.  Just don’t go expecting surrealism when instead you’ll get entertainment.


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