Printable CopyDON JUAN IN SOHO
University of Adelaide Theatre Guild
The Little Theatre
Until 25 May 2019

Review by Fran Edwards

This is based on a very old story about a libertine who spent his entire life seducing any female who crossed his path. Patrick Marber’s play opens with a cloaked figure in a Tricorn, a nod to the 17th Century origin. As the central figure, Don Juan, Peter Davies is on stage most of the play. He is charming, he is devilish and he is convincing. Tracing his every mood is his servant Stan – covering for him, cleaning up after him, attending his every whim with suppressed malice. Matt Houston carries this part well, a great foil for Davies.

Peter Bleby gives a convincing performance as Louis, the parent ashamed of his son’s dissolute ways. Sarika Young plays the bride our ‘hero’ seduces and abandons in the opening scenes and Miriam Keane the receptionist who tries to evict him, but along with the other ladies in the cast, (Kate van der Horst and Ellie O’Leary) they rotate as various objects of desire to sate Don Juan’s addiction. All give fine cameos of his many conquests.

The males are mostly shocked or in competition with him, again giving fine performances all of which support Davies. Matthew Chapman, Rezuanul Jewel and Ronald Densley play friends and enemies and join with the female cast members in a well-choreographed fight scene (brawl). Kudos to AJ Bartley who remained motionless as a statue in Soho Square for almost a whole scene, the supernatural element!

The entire cast joined in a celebratory dance after Don Juan gets his just deserts; choreographer Rebecca Kemp got them all moving and grooving. But we all knew how it was going to end – they have been telling the story for almost 500 years!