But oh, the difference of play and play. Don Juan which runs without an
interval - clocks in at just half the length of the sprawling
three-and-a-half hour Man and Superman. Brevity, as someone once remarked,
is the soul of wit.
Nye's translation is demotic ('scam', 'posh'), low - perhaps unnecessarily
so on occasion - easily-offended theatregoers be warned. The design,
however- scenery is by Kevin Rigdon and lighting by Peter Mumford - is
Centre stage at the rear beneath three sides of a giant picture frame
is a large mirror which becomes transparent as needed to reveal supernatural
interventions, viz, the grim reaper himself and a statue which comes to
These arrive with a stern warning for Don Juan: mend your ways or face the
consequences. For the Don is, in addition to being a hedonist, that most
modern of things - a nihilist. He has no use for Church or the mores of man.
Thea Sharrock, who directed last year's excellent The Fight for Barbara, is
in the directorial chair here and guides a fast-paced, punchy production.
There are good supporting performances, especially from James Laurenson as
Don Luis and Mark Hadfield as Sganarelle, Juan's much put-upon manservant.
Inevitably the sense of shock and scandal which greeted the play in which
Moliere satirises society has long gone. Don Juan's final gambit, his
announced intention to embrace hypocrisy and carry on sinning while
castigating the morals of others passes for little, though it is this which
finally tests divine patience too far leading to a very funny piece of
Keen isn't an obvious Lothario, more feral than fetching, but he is a fine
vehicle for Moliere's unrelenting castigation of hubris, hypocrisy and