The Wellingtonista

Random stuff about Wellington since 2005

Review: Don Juan: an adaptation of the play by Moliere

by librarykris on May 12, 2015 in Theatre

Before we’re in the theatre the performers come to us. “Allo” they cry in their French accents “You are looking gorgeous tonight!” They sweep us before them into their seedy world. It’s part cabaret, part shabby theatre, part sophisticated storytelling, part improv. It feels like a troupe of travelling actors has arrived in town and set up for a few nights only. The walls of the theatre are covered in dark fabric. There’s a little alcove for the on-form technician (Matt Eller) but he is mostly hidden behind the row of audience seats.

The title character is similarly hidden in the shifting people who play him. Every one in the cast (Susie Berry, Andrew Paterson, Maaka Pohatu, Jonothan Price, Comfrey Sanders) play him at some stage – person and voice. Even an audience member is enticed into playing him. Audience members are key to this production. We are characters – in the play and in the world of the play; we are stage hands helping with props; we are the props; we’re interval dancers. The cast are adept at interacting with the audience and playing off what they are given. They’re gentle with people who don’t want to be involved. Interspersed through the story of the wicked Don Juan are songs. They range through Kayne West  to Erykah Badu to Fiona Apple. All the cast have great voices. Susie Berry is a particular stand out for me here.

This iteration of Don Juan feels like you’re being told the story of an outrageous friend of a friend. Incredibly entertaining. Go with a group if you can because it will be more fun that way.

  • Don Juan on at Circa Theatre until 23 May 2015.

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