Last night saw the official opening of Patrick Marber’s ‘Don Juan in Soho’ starring David Tennant and Adrian Scarborough. So that means press night. Time for all to have their say.
As the saying goes ‘You can’t please everyone all the time‘and that is very clear with this new play. Below is a selection of reviews…..
Tennant’s physicality and vocal control in this scene are spot-on. He’s well-matched throughout by Scarborough, not least when the preening dandy and the dumpy prole share a surprising musical duet. Both actors dive with relish into Marber’s ribald language, which is frequently shocking yet everything you’d expect from a misanthrope suffering from sex addiction and the stooge who’s been swimming in the same cesspool for far too long.
It’s an easy laugh and just a little hypocritical for DJ to be slinging judgments around but you forgive because Tennant is brilliant, his gangly form made to play a man always on the prowl, restless, funny, incorrigible. He is the perfect foil to Adrian Scarborough, plump and slightly ridiculous at all times, as Stan.
In the end, it is those central performances and the vicious wit of Marber’s script that linger into the night, finding resonance in a play from 1665 to throw some light and a lot of laughter on the world in which we live today.
David Tennant dazzles as a desolate hedonist – What is unnerving, however, is Tennant’s capacity to make us empathise with an impenitent egotist driven by sexual obsession.
It’s bawdy, it’s lewd, and in places it’s frankly improper. Not exactly a family show, then, but nonetheless a forthright and sharp production.
The Not So Good
David Tennant has swagger and twinkly charm – But there are too many moments when the play lacks bite and seems crude or even a bit dull.
This is a play trying to have it both ways, exposing decadence while simultaneously charging big money for that very sort of titillation. It may be exotic and handsome but ultimately it is as hooked on shallowness as Don Juan.
‘Charmless and Creepy’ – DJ (David Tennant) is a bona fide sex addict, who cares little about the damage he inflicts on others. The play follows a similar course to that charted in Stephen Jeffreys’s The Libertine (which was also recently revived in the West End). It’s an open invitation to audiences to be titillated and provoked by extreme sexual behaviour, but Ray Cooney sex farces are a lot more fun than this.
Not even David Tennant in a posing pouch can save this flaccid comedy – But suffering the coitus interruptus of an interval and laden with the would-be funky garb of physicalised hedonism (lots of dry-ice and cavorting, scantily clad types in masks) the show feels like a prolonged awkward fumble.
About Don Juan in Soho
Don Juan in Soho is loosely based on Molière’s tragicomedy ‘Don Juan’. The modern update transports the action to contemporary London and follows the final adventures of its debauched protagonist – a cruel seducer who lives only for pleasure. The play is described as savagely funny and filthy.
Tennant will be joined on stage by established stage stars Adrian Scarborough as Stan and Gawn Grainger as Louis along with Adrian Richards, Alice Orr-Ewing, Danielle Vitalis, David Jonsson, Dominique Moore, Eleanor Wyld, Emma Naomi, Himesh Patel, Mark Ebulué, Mark Extance, Theo Barkley-Biggs and William Spray.
Marber’s Don Juan in Soho, which premiered to great acclaim ten years ago at the Donmar Warehouse, is now produced in the West End by Matthew Byam Shaw, Nia Janis and Nick Salmon for Playful Productions in association with Sonia Friedman Productions.
Set and costume designs by Anne Fleischle and sound and music by Adam Cork.