Don Juan in Soho (3 stars)

This article is from 2009.

Don Juan in Soho

When the the Guardian calls a show a 'Top ticket', it tends to sell well. The picture accompanying their list of five such tickets features Rhys Ifans as Don Juan in the 2006 premiere of Patrick Marber's Don Juan in Soho (after Moliere); the caption reads that Ifans is 'in N10 Productions'' Edinburgh production of the play.

This Don Juan in Soho, put on by N10 Productions (the students and teachers of Fortismere School Drama Department), in fact has nothing to do with Rhys Ifans. That is no bad thing (plenty of Fringe shows, even the good ones, have nothing to do with Rhys Ifans), but I wondered whether everyone in the packed little theatre was aware of the mix-up before taking their seats.

The tale of the sexually-indefatigable Don Juan, literature's ultimate commitment-phobe, is here played out by actors in doublet and hose to a soundtrack of modern re-mixes. The actors' movements are slick and practiced. Sandwiched between the audience (half of whom face the other half), they leap over, jump onto and throw each other to the ground with apparent ease. The opening scene, in which the eponymous rake engages two biddable girls in a sequence of sexual acrobatics, is particularly impressive.

Henry Hankin plays Don Juan with a combination of cold disdain and reckless hedonism. Guido Cavaciuti is likable as his long-suffering friend, Stan, who pauses dramatic action at intervals to confide in the audience. Lewd jokes and faux-fighting work better than the few instances of attempted emotional depth - but this is a relatively inexperienced cast, with years of Fringe summers ahead of them.

Ultimately, pounding music, polished choreography, and a witty script cannot sustain the piece for its full 60-minutes; for the final 10, the innuendo feels rather half-hearted and the audience shuffle. That said, this A-Level Drama-student cast can rest assured of a week of sell-out performances, thanks to the minor editorial slip of a major newspaper.

C cubed, 0845 260 1234, until 31 Aug, 1pm, £7.50-£9.50 (£6.50-£8.50).

Don Juan in Soho

  • 3 stars

Still fresh from her wedding, Elvira (Hannah Johnson) can’t come to terms with the revelation that her husband Don Juan (Henry Hankin), has betrayed her. Unashamedly proud of his sexual conquests, Don Juan barely ends one liaison when he is in pursuit of the next. The 5000 numbers in his Blackberry are constantly juggled…

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