Presented by University of Adelaide Theatre Guild Inc.
Reviewed 11 May 2019
Get ready for a comedic, philandering ride as the audience is taken on a sexually-charged and liquored-up journey through the immoral day-to-day life of Soho’s shamelessly promiscuous, Don Juan.
Setting the scene for what is a truly depraved lead character, the audience’s initial impression of the show’s lead, Don Juan, is via the information that he is currently upstairs cheating on his newly-married wife. His assistant, Stan, explains to both Don Juan’s shocked brother-in-law and directly to the audience that this is simply who he is; a man of truly immoral behaviour who only thinks with his penis.
From here things only appear to become more outrageously amoral (as apparently that’s possible), with Don Juan presenting the personality of a less morally-driven James Bond or twin of the well-known British ladies-man, Alfie. With marriages destroyed (and husbands left in comas), poverty-stricken women preyed upon and mangled father-son relationships all tumbling in his wake, it appears hopeless that our protagonists’ egotistical womanising ways will ever change. Though, a supernatural vision foretelling death may be exactly what Don Juan needs to turn his life around.
Successful English playwright Patrick Marbers’ Don Juan in Soho is rated MA for a multitude of good reasons with c**t and other abrasive words being frequently thrown around, alongside humorously explicit sexual descriptions. These, though, aren’t as confronting as the depictions of sexual acts, cleverly directed by Megan Dansie to be graphic enough to shock the audience into gasps and hand-to-mouth gestures.
The entire cast is strong, though there are definitely stand-out performances. Unsurprisingly, Matt Houston is a scene-stealer as the sarcastic, but also humorously tender, trodden-on ‘servant’ Stan, continuously bringing the audience to fits of laughter with his emotive reactions to Don Juan’s immoral lunacy. A mention must also be made of Kate Van Der Horst and Mathew Chapman for their hilarious depictions of British ‘chavs’ out to make a quick buck, but their glaringly obvious relationship issues may just get in the way. Peter Davies’ Don Juan is certainly depraved enough, but just misses the charismatic charm needed to completely fulfil the role (this could change after opening night).
Projections on the upper back section of the stage have been smartly utilised to help place the audience within various locations around London. These range from the iconic Soho Square with its recognisable Tudor-style hut and statue of Charles II to the lavish foyer of an exclusive hotel, and a Hospital’s Accident and Emergency Room where chaos ensues. These projections pair cleverly with simple sets that only utilise a variety of different seating and coffee tables that transition around the stage to represent the changing of scenes and locations.
Make sure Don Juan in Soho is on your must-see list – you are guaranteed a shocking, funny and depraved night at the theatre!
Reviewed by Georgina Smerd
Venue: Little Theatre, The
Cloisters, (Gate 10 off Victoria Drive), Adelaide University
Season: 11 May – 25 May
Duration: 2 hours (including 20 min interval)
Tickets: $18 – $22
Tickets on the door, subject to availability