|Don Juan in Soho | Melbourne Theatre Company|
|Written by Nikki Thomas|
|Friday, 11 January 2008 04:21|
Left - Dan Wyllie & Daniel Frederiksen. Cover - Dan Wyllie & Kate Jenkinson. Photos - Jeff Busby
not one to laugh at other’s misfortune, however in my opinion and I’m
sure others, that is frankly boring entertainment. Hence why the
introduction of the deliciously naughty Don Juan, in any genre, will
never cease to thrill. Untamable and unashamedly proud of his sexual
conquests, playwrights before have created this man as a legend, who
all are in awe of. Men envy him, yet admire his brashness and success,
women fear him, yet yearn for his attention and seduction and it is
this which can create quite a feat when rewriting this character in
modern day life. Originally scoped by Molina and then established by
Moliere, it is with success that Patrick Marber’s finely crafted script
closely follows Moliere’s interpretation of the character and catapults
him into the 21st Century with an individual and contemporary spin.
forward many centuries and this Don Juan (now appropriately named DJ)
is residing in Soho, accompanied by his ever faithful servant Stan and
complete with an up to date Blackberry filled with juicy information on
each successful conquest. From Croatian supermodels to saintly virgins, DJ’s list stops at none and director Peter Evans goes beyond the script
in creating not only an outrageously immoral womaniser, schlep and
cheat but also an absurdly funny and entertaining one at that.
Dan Wyllie, brilliantly cast in the slick role of DJ, brings down the house with his ever-flowing ideas of seductions and never once is there a hint of failure, a lack of motivation or flaw in the charisma of Don Juan.
Daniel Frederiksen steals the show as Stan, DJ’s faithful, yet pitied sidekick who through lack of freedom or the mere fact of being seduced by the man himself, stays loyal to his master until the end. Frederiksen not only holds enormous comedic talent but also the ability to present the softer and often sadder side to any situation. This range of talent is evident in all and it really is hats off to this stellar cast for their brilliant and wide ranging performances. Katie Jean Harding makes a brilliant MTC debut as the broken hearted Elvira and MTC old favourite Bob Hornery makes a hysterical cameo as the poor father, struggling to understand the sexual deviances of his own son. This superb ensemble, never once missing a beat, partake in the cleverly choreographed scene changes which add pace and dimension to the show and the minimalist set and props only give them more leverage to shine.
By stripping the black box of the Fairfax Theatre, set designer Fiona Crombie uses the space to its full advantage and presents a realistic and contemporary vision of Soho. The vast set changes of the early Don Juan versions are eliminated, all by her clever use of canvases being levered onto stage to change each scene. Matt Scott’s dark lighting and smoke only add an element of mystery while David Franzke’s history of composing for comedy is delightfully apparent, giving each scene a comedic life of its own.
with a great vigor that MTC enter the season of 2008 with a production
that truly deserves all variety of praise. Patrick Marber’s rendition of Don Juan in Soho is the work of an extremely clever and
intellectual playwright and Peter Evans, along with his exceptional
ensemble, do justice and more to this monstrous legend.
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