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Review: Don Juan in Soho at Wyndham’s Theatre

David Tennant is entirely convincing in this fast-paced, racy and fun production

06 April, 2017 — By Catherine Usher

Boozy debauchery: David Tennant in Don Juan in Soho. Photo: Helen Maybanks

It’s always fun to witness a genuine seducing dandy in his natural habitat, prowling around the city’s clubs and bars, and in Patrick Marber’s wonderful Don Juan in Soho, David Tennant gives the impression that after the show he’s likely to flounce out of the theatre and off into the night to continue an evening of wild passion. He probably really goes home and despairs about Brexit, but we can pretend.

The point is that Tennant is entirely convincing, and indeed tremendously entertaining, in the title role. The entire production is set up as a people pleaser. It helps enormously if the audience is full of Tennant fans. They have to buy into DJ’s undisputed charisma and they do wholeheartedly.

Part James Bond, part Withnail and with a dash of Jarvis Cocker, Tennant is perfectly pitched in his tall, handsome Lothario routine, but his booze-soaked style of debauchery is very amusing too. He seduces and then casts aside with such ease that, rather than being distasteful, it is practically endearing.

The tone of the production is fast-paced, racy and fun, and the connection to mainstream television is strong. Theo Barklem-Biggs (cuckolded Pete) was in the first Inbetweeners film. And Adrian Scarborough is best known to comedy fans for Gavin and Stacey. The dynamic between DJ and his loyal servant Stan (Scarborough) is heart-wrenching.

Scarborough is a mighty match for Tennant. The former Doctor Who enjoys top billing, but for almost all the show, he shares his scenes with Scarborough, and the duo prove to be a sensational double act.
The play may all about sex and seduction but the salacious moments are more suggestive than upfront. But the scene in which DJ chats up a bride while receiving oral pleasure from another woman underneath a blanket is shockingly filthy yet fabulously funny. It is Tennant’s Meg Ryan moment and he pulls it off (so to speak) admirably.

Despite the fact it’s a show that is likely to divide viewers, it will no doubt triumph in the West End, where audiences entertained by outrageous sexual behaviour, loneliness-tinged self-absorption and Trump gags are in the majority.

Until June 10
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