Don Juan in Soho @ Wyndhams Theatre
Cast Includes David Tennant and Adrian Scarborough
Running Time: 2 hours 5 mins, inc. interval
Patrick Marber is proving to be an exceptionally busy writer and director so far this year. Not only is his version of Travesties playing at the Apollo, we also now have Don Juan in Soho to add to the collection, which has been directed and updated by him. Based upon the classic story, this update tells the story of DJ (Tennant) who leads his hedonistic, sexually promiscuous lifestyle and the consequences it has both on him and those around him.
The show has had numerous script updates from when it premiered in Donmar Warehouse – we have references to Prince George and Donald Trump, and the notions of the ‘selfie generation’ – the show gets much more serious towards it closing moments, which does juxtapose nicely with its mainly comedic take. It could be questioned the reasoning behind the updates, and why this is not taken further – Soho has lost some of the seediness it had due to gentrification of the area, as such some of the effect is quite comical.
The focus of the show is David Tennant’s portrayal of DJ – it is ironic that the show criticises celebrity yet casts Tennant which will surely draw his fanbase to the show. Tennant is good, though he really seems to milk the laughter at times and occasionally overacts. More grounded and realistic is Adrian Scarborough as Stan, who presents possibly a rounded and sympathetic portrayal of DJ’s long suffering sidekick. Also of note is Gawn Grainger as DJ’s father, who is able to highlight the effect of DJ’s actions, and their repercussions.
The production itself is not without flaws – the set is underwhelming and basic, with only a few highlights being the statue and rickshaw effects. The company also feels overly large, with many having little to do, and some of the company are stronger than others, with certain characters feeling underpowered.
Summary: A distinctly average production of Marber’s Don Juan update. Only for completists or David Tennant fans. ***