Don Juan in Soho – University of Adelaide Theatre Guild

Don Juan in Soho – University of Adelaide Theatre Guild

Don Juan (DJ) makes Harvey Weinstein look like a gospel singer in the Hollywood Harmony Choir. Peter Davies as DJ does admirably well as an aging roue with the challenge of finding a balance between near nauseous sleaze and erotic sexiness (of sorts.) This is not always successful, but to the actor’s credit, I felt the first night audience came to grips with DJ as the play moved into its final phase. His soliloquy on morality or the lack thereof in the modern world is powerfully delivered. He argues that his “what you see is what you get” honesty is vastly superior to the pretence that pervades society.

“Everyman” Stan, the glue that keeps this entire piece together is deftly played by Matt Houston. He quickly establishes a rapport with his audience and with brief but pertinent direct asides provides an insight into his employer’s extreme behaviours whilst offering no reasons or explanation. Stan makes the stage his own throughout not only with dialogue but with knowingly nuanced gesture and facial expression. Both “master” and “servant” excel in this regard.

Director Megan Dansie introduces her cast by use of an effective masked tableau and ends the play in a similar powerful manner with movement and driving musical beat. I particularly liked the well-choreographed brawl in the hospital outpatient waiting room scene.

Kate Van der Horst squeezes the most out of her slatternly Lottie. She is vibrant, believable and almost likeable in her voracious quest for easy money.

Don Juan’s very new wife Elvira played by Sarika Young is a convincing supplicant for love and commitment from DJ but her pleading is in vain. Nothing and nobody can penetrate his well-worn cloak of amorality.

Ronald Densley as Col, Elvira’s brother maintains the rage whilst seeking first an apology then vengeance for his ill-used sister. DJ’s father Louis (Peter Bleby) does his best to induce a behavioural change in his out of control son.

 I discerned a Faustian element in the almost contractual rapport between DJ and the Statue (AJ Bartley) and was reminded of Peter Greenaway’s film “The Draughtman’s Contract” and the coming to life of statues therein.

In essence Megan Dansie and her entire team present an often amusing, interesting and thought provoking piece of theatre. It certainly was something to ponder and discuss on our way home.

Don Juan in Soho
The University of Adelaide Theatre Guild
University of Adelaide – Little Theatre, The Cloisters
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This production was reviewed by:

Alan Shepley
Alan Shepley
Whilst at University and Adelaide Teachers College he performed with Adelaide Uni Footlights, Therry and Theatre Guild before being appointed to country teaching positions. Over 35 years he was involved with school and/or community theatre productions in all facets of getting a show on stage at Pt. Augusta, Kadina , Balaklava and Pt. Pirie.

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