Skip to main content

Don Juan

Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
4 stars
As serial philanderers go, Don Juan keeps on coming. Goldoni’s very serious eighteenth century look at the soulless vacuum our handsome hero exists in has him thrust at life like a nervous tic. Here, his chameleon-like tendencies are exploited to the hilt in Jeremy Raison’s audacious new version, taken from Robert David MacDonald’s mid 1990s translation.

In his own production, co-directed with Maxine Braham, Raison casts Juan as John D, a self-aggrandising twenty-first century sex addict and celerity string-puller. Tempted into some parallel universe costume drama, he’s bedazzled by Neve McIntosh’s untouchable Anna. Not, however, before he works his charms on every woman in sight, only to be spewed out into a modern day back-alley where redemption might just come calling.

The opening bathroom bump and grind floor show sets the tone, which comes frock-deep with the post-modern knowingness of TV drama’s recent descent into fiction, Lost In Austen. Everything that follows is played in heavy breathing inverted commas, with the second half taking place in the sort of country house fancy dress party which these days only Stephen Poliakoff plays can afford.

Inbetween its cross-class, gender-bending liaisons, Mark Springer’s John/Juan makes for a struttingly metrosexual rake, with James Anthony Pearson a sexually troubled Octavio. As a double act, Pearson’s interplay with Pauline Knowles’ cross-dressing Isabella – raped twice by Juan in the ugliest of historical re-enactments - is more disturbing than any pantomime. As a whole this may not be quite as sexy as advertised, but with Stuart Jenkins’ vivid day-glo lighting and Graham Sutherland’s sound design flipping between time zones and BPMs, it’s a thought-provoking one night stand to savour.

The Herald, September 22nd 2008

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Phoebe Waller-Bridge - Fleabag

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a busy woman. The thirty-two year old actress who burst onto our TV screens as writer and star of Fleabag, the tragi-comic sort of sit-com about a supposedly independent woman on the verge is currently overseeing Killing Eve, her new TV drama which she's written for BBC America. As an actress, Waller-Bridge is also filming a big screen project which we can't talk about, but which has already been outed as being part of the ongoing Star Wars franchise.

These are both pretty good reasons why Waller-Bridge won't be appearing in the brief Edinburgh Festival Fringe revival of the original stage play of Fleabag, when it opens next week at the Underbelly, where it was first unleashed to the world in 2013. In her place, Maddie Rice will take on the role of the potty-mouthed anti-heroine after touring Vickie Jones' production for Waller-Bridge and Jones' DryWrite company in association with Soho Theatre. This doesn't mean Waller-Bridge has turned…

Futureproof 2017

Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow until February 4th 2018
Four stars

Now in its ninth year, Futureproof's showcase of recent graduate photographers from seven Scottish art schools and universities returns to its spiritual home at Street Level, with nineteen artists embracing photo essays, abstraction and constructed narratives. It is Karlyn Marshall's Willies, Beuys and Me that grabs you first. Tucked in a corner, this depiction of a woman impersonating iconic artist Joseph Beuys says much about gender stereotyping, and recalls Manfred Karge's play, Man to Man, in which a German woman took on her dead husband's identity.

The personal and the political converge throughout. Ben Soedera's Foreign Sands contrasts natural resources and the constructed world. Gareth and Gavin Bragdon's The Bragdon Brothers moves onto the carnivalesque streets of Edinburgh. Kieran Delaney's Moments also looks at the apparently ordinary. Matthew Buick goes further afield, as tourists…