Hurry, this play closes soon! I recommend getting tickets quickly !
I only found out about this play recently, wish I could see it earlier and write about it way ahead!
Getting through this play may be a challenge. Not because it’s bad – actually the opposite! It’s because you might not find your way easily: the Vaults entrance is quite hidden in a side alley and doesn’t look like a theatre entrance at all. I ended up doing rounds 3 times before finding the correct way. But hey, I suppose it makes the whole experience more rewarding – you can give yourself a pat on the back for finding your way 🙂
An English – French rendition of Molière’s play
I was excited for this play, as the Theatre Lab Company & Exchange Theatre prepped the play for performances in both English and French (language versions vary on different days of the show). That’s definitely an ambitious project, and not something you see every day!
But ok, back to basics, let me tell you a little bit more about “Dom Juan” as a play.
An entertaining and addictive story, Dom Juan by Molière tells the story of the last day of the legendary playboy’s short life, set against the decaying atmosphere of Venice Carnival.
The unlikely hero you will follow but not cheer for
Described as charming, egocentric, philandering, and recently married, Dom Juan is about to commit another adultery against his wife. He sets out on a journey in search of his next love conquest with the assistance of Sganarelle, his servant. Don Juan’s remorselessness, unrepentant nature, and ferocious libido make him a world-class villain. In an intense and yet humorous philosophical discussion, Sganarelle challenges his master’s libertine views and demonstrates his wit and piety. The play follows Dom Juan in his final days, right before an unexpected end to his life and adventures.
400 year old comedy
The play mixes real-life scenarios with fantastic occurances (a living statue gets invited for dinner). Comedy blends with surprise and disgust. It’s a total mix of emotions. Molière wrote this story 400 years ago yet the actions of the title hero are (sadly) quite timeless.
Dimitri Jeannest‘s Dom Juan is so un-likeable, and (hopefully) unrelatable for most- which basically means that as an actor, Dimitri did a fabulous job. One thing I missed was a bit more of erotic tension or passion in his attraction towards women – it felt more flat emotionally than I was hoping for. It could have been done on purpose, to highlight the character’s lack of true attachment to any human being, though.
For me, the true star of the show was David Furlong as Sganarelle. From his pre-show interaction with the audience, through highly energetic jokes and songs, he becomes a natural balance point with the rest of the show’s plotline. He also helped to make some longer moments when the stage elements are moved around, more entertaining. I’m not exactly sure but I felt some part of his performance were improvised – and looked just as good as the rest of the scripted play.
I have to praise the costumes and makeup of the production: as the play is set in Venice, the presence of masks, long black capes and tightly-tied corsets create a beautiful representation of Moliere’s times. And I have to say: Dom Juan’s golden platform boots are such a fashion statement!
“Dom Juan” is a comedic time-travel capsule. It will make you laugh, but also eventually make you hope for Dom Juan’s punishment to finally come true. It’s one of those plays where you are intrigued to see what happens even though the main character is not likeable at all. It will make you feel torn inside. But in a good way.
Directed by: Anastasia Revi
Ticket price: £20
until 29 May