Gadget by The Blog Doctor.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Theatre Review : Don Juan in Soho

This was the first show of the new MTC season, the first show we attended from Tarneit, and our first MTC matinee.

We had lunch in the Care Vic which as usual was a pleasant experience.

The show was in the Fairfax Studio.

The first thing we noticed as we entered the theatre was the simplicity of the stage design, ie virtually none. As the show progressed the setting of each scene was suggested by a smallish backdrop.

There have been many interpretations of the Don Juan story. The first seems to have been published in 1630, by de Molina, though its most famous incarnations were in Moliere's play, ou Le festin de pierre, Mozart's opera Don Giovanni and Byron's epic poem, Don Juan. In the Wikipedia article on Don Juan over 70 plays, films or books are recorded as derived from the Don Juan story.

Don Juan is usually portrayed in one of two ways:

  • a simple, lustful womanizer and cruel seducer who gets sex wherever he can

  • a man who genuinely loves every woman he seduces, with the gift to see the true beauty and intrinsic value of every woman

Moliere and Mozart's versions fall into the first category while Byron's the second.

In his updated version Patrick Marber set the action in Soho. A modern twist is that Don Juan is called DJ. His plot largely follows that of Moliere. (For a summary of Moliere's play follow this link.)

The play is hugely entertaining with one of the most comic scenes occurring in a hospital waiting room. Previous to this scene DJ has met a couple who are to be engaged on a boat on the river. DJ decided to gate crash the party and seduce the girl. In the process he manages to sink the boat. He is rescued by a passer by and all are taken to the hospital. DJ seduces the girlfriend of his rescuer who performs fellatio on him relatively discretely (her head under a blanket). At the same time DJ attempts to chat up the fiancee from the boat, even though she is distraught as her lover is probably dying in a near by room. Very dark but very funny.

Dan Wyllie plays DJ with verve and gusto, see photo opposite

Daniel Frederiksen is a natural as Don Juan's factotum Stan

Christen O'Leary plays the girlfriend of the rescuer

Katie-Jean Harding generates impassioned pathos as the jilted Elvira

Bob Hornery plays DJ's confused father

A great afternoon at the theatre.

No comments: