Writer: Beth Eustace
Director: Beth Eustace
Choreographer: Hayley Thompson
Reviewer: Val Baskott
The Public Reviews Rating:
Jackinabox Productions bring flair and vitality to their version of Moliere’s take on Don Juan, the notorious seducer and destroyer of women. The Devil (Luke de Belder) judges Don Juan (John Askew) to be a fool and so pricks the arrogant, self-assured Don into a contest that we know he cannot win. Initially Satan allows Don Juan to demonstrate his outrageous techniques as highly refined and skilful manoeuvres, which the Devil can pick holes in, goading him to more reckless revelation until the real reason for his eternal damnation and judgement is uncovered. Eustace writes wittily and profoundly giving the Devil an interesting role as judge rather than corrupter, and makes Don Juan in the end as much a victim of his own self as his women have been.
The space is small and the set is minimal, dominated by an imposing rococo day bed, surely the scene of many a seduction. The women are beautifully costumed to show off their allure, and give solid performances as foolish virgins and women of the world. Askew is just about cocky and self assured enough to be a convincing and handsome Don Juan, but he is no real match at any time for his devilish interlocutor
De Belder is outstanding and dominates with a blend of oozing ingratiation, urbanity and lightening intellect, playing Don Juan like a salmon into the net. Rory Hern makes a real man out of Sganarelle, the archetype comic man-servant with a soft heart for the well–being of his rogue of a master. Hayley Thomson’s choreography provides images of seduction in a sensuous but non-explicit way and dance often moves the action on. Her Elvire is poignant and strong.
An absorbing hour’s worth of refined drama from this young company.
Runs until 27th August