Wyndham’s Theatre – until 10 June 2017
MOLIERE , MOZART, MARBER AND A MORAL… Something for everyone here. I like the assonance, alliteration and rhetorical flourishes in Patrick Marber’s reworking of the old Don Juan myth via Moliere. Anyone can rejoice in the anti-hero’s salty, splenetic updated rants against every modern annoyance, from Donald Trump to self-important vloggers.
Meanwhile, the simpler of mind – plenty of them sniggering away on the first night – will enjoy the prolonged , laddish comedy blow-job sequence in the first act, which left me as cold as a Russell Brand on Red Nose night.
But everyone, in harmony, can enjoy the performance of the season from David Tennant as the perennial seducer. He spins and capers and lounges, callous and languid, fey , filthy and fascinating. Here is the great seducer, the ultimate hedonist and prophet of unfettered pleasure, “I am a child, a creature of wants”. Can’t take your eyes off him.
Tennant is an unquestionable star, one of the finest, and it is good to be reminded of that again after a few dreary weeks of him having little to do on Broadchurch beyond the interminable Big Sad Eyes shots. Luckily, most of his Dr Who fans will be just about old enough now to see him lengthily feigning orgasm from a blow-job under a sheet, while his top half is busy poetically wooing a bride whose husband he has put into a coma. Or to have a sudden serious shiver as he taunts a homeless man with a thousand pounds if he is willing to mock Allah (a beautifully dignified cameo there from Himesh Patel).
Oh yes, the modernized Don Juan is wicked all right. And irresistible with it , whether hurling his long white legs around in a romp with four “delicious slatterns”, or casually winnning back the loyalty of his put-upon factotum Stan with a bag of chips and a spliff. Marber directs his own play, with elegant sequences of balletic surrealism and smoke, and Tennant’s rangy elegance is beautifully complemented by Adrian Scarborough’s Stan: puglike and faithful, torn between humane disapproval of this monster and unrequited love. “The man is a slag, he’d do it with a hole in the ozone layer!”. They make a marvellous pair, and when at the end of Act 1 the fatal statue speaks, they unite in a marvellous stoned bromance , crooning and dancing in the Soho night until the dark grinding stone warning stills them.
As for the denouement, we get a tremendous moment of dissimulative acting from Tennant, and of real stilling emotion from Scarborough. Then a theatrical spectacular and some earthier violence, a blast of Don Giovanni and a disco curtain-call to celebrate cosmic justice. See? Something for everyone.
And something from everyone, too. The two stars are tremendous, but note the other pleasures: Danielle Vitalis gives an earnest, ankle-socked reality to the wronged bride Elvira, Gawn Grainger is a grumpy reproving Louis, and the smoky dances in white corsets and pants evoke the long-lost dream of louche old unsanitized Soho. And since it’s all over in just over two hours with interval, the audience can head out into a tamer London early, for aphrodisiac oysters and a wistful dream of decadence.
box office 0844 482 5120
to 10 June