Play by Patrick Marber. Loosely based on Molière's tragicomedy Don Juan, this modern update transports the action to contemporary London and follows the final adventures of its debauched protagonist - a cruel seducer who lives only for pleasure.
Original London Production with Rhys Ifans at the Donmar Warehouse 2006
Previewed 30 November 2006, Opened 6 December 2006, Closed 10 February 2007 at the Donmar Warehouse in London
Rhys Ifans as 'Don Juan' with Stephen Wight as 'Stan', David Ryall as 'Louis' and Laura Pyper as 'Elvira' along with Jessica Brooks, Chris Corrigan, Tim Eagle, Seroca Davis, Richard Flood and Abdul Salis. Directed by Michael Grandage with designs by Christopher Oram, lighting by Neil Austin and sound by Adam Cork. Written by Patrick Marber after Moliere.
"Patrick Marber's acid and brilliantly witty update of Moliere moves Don Juan from its 1665 original to the Soho of 2006, complete with crackheads and cokeheads and glossy hotels and punters desperate for sex and solace and all the other joys of contemporary urban living in London W1. But the satire stays intact and Rhys Ifans wisely plays the title role like Leslie Howard on speed... But this is really Marber's evening. The author of Dealer's Choice and Closer, whom I have long believed the best and brightest of our younger contemporary dramatists, delivers a heightened, savagely funny script which, while true to the spirit of the Moliere text, could have been (and for all I know was) written a month ago. It is urban, cutting edge, street-smart, and when the statue finally comes to life and cycles DJ (as he is known here) off to hell in one of those newly fashionable London rickshaws, we are left in no doubt that he is getting his due, not just for a love of Croatian supermodel prostitutes but for being so generally oversexed that 'He'll do it with anyone, or even a hole in the ozone layer'... Michael Grandage's production, perfectly suited to his Warehouse stage, brilliantly captures the quick-fire energy of Marber's treatment and there are some good laughs built in for those of us who have struggled to find the basic Moliere ever actually funny." The Daily Express
"For all today's scented preachiness, we live in an age of ravenous depravity. It's sex, sex, sex at every other turn. Libertine Don Juan, who has cavorted through drama and literature since the early 17th century via the likes of Moliere, Byron and GB Shaw, has never held more sway. Go into the streets of London's Soho. Turn on late night telly. What do you find? Don Juans. Even a few Don Juanitas. It was therefore an act of brilliance for playwright Patrick Marber and the Donmar Warehouse's Michael Grandage to throw at us a visceral, furious, on-the-button treatment of the Don Juan tale. I don't think I have come out of a play feeling more politically exhilarated. This show is a savage attack on the selfishness of seedy sex, the crassness of the 21st century rich, the sheer bloody awfulness of the me-me-me crowd. A long speech near the end is a thoroughly satisfying wail against modern Britain and its culture of confessional trash. That this production is, itself, often distinctly sassy, with wobblybosomed tarts, ripe language and depictions of opulent squalor, is one of its many paradoxes... Mr Marber's play has found a perfect lead actor in Rhys Ifans. Tall, lean, leggy and blond, Mr Ifans produces a languid scorn better than even Richard E Grant could achieve. DJ is a champion slut, the epitome, as he claims, of 'homo sapiens in his natural animal state, existing only to hunt'. This is a superb piece of work." The Daily Mail
"Patrick Marber has fashioned a ravishing, thoroughly modern makeover for the worst sex-addict in theatrical history, Moliere's Don Juan. The humour and witty invective is imaginatively cruel, even sufficient to pleasure practising sadists. Rhys Ifans, resembling the young Peter O'Toole, makes a dazzlingly arrogant impression as the lordly DJ, too languid to put a cigarette in his own mouth, or light it, and equipped with a monstrous ego... Purists and pedants may resent the way Marber has taken almost as many liberties with Moliere's text as Don Juan took with those gullible women to whom he promised love but abandoned after the orgasm. Marber, though, offers the subtitle 'after Moliere' as well as the allusion to Soho, making it clear that though he follows the narrative outlines of Don Juan, his treatment is a radical rewrite, shaping the original into a modern morality or fairy tale... Marber's twist for our own secular times is not to make DJ admit the ceaseless itch of his sex-addiction, but to reveal him as a champion hypocrite in a world where hypocrisy has become all the rage - from political leaders who go to war proclaiming themselves saviours to a host of people making fake confessions in the media, diaries on the web and podcasts... Michael Grandage's production achieves the right, frantic comic momentum, though the climactic scene lacks the nightmare sound-scape Marber required and the rickshaw fails to move." The London Evening Standard
Don Juan In Soho in London at the Donmar Warehouse previewed from 30 November 2006, opened on 6 December 2006 and closed on 10 February 2007
1st London Revival with David Tennant at the Wyndham's Theatre 2017
Previewed 17 March 2017, Opened 28 March 2017, Closed 10 June 2017 at the Wyndham's Theatre
The cast features David Tennant as 'Don Juan', Adrian Scarborough as 'Stan' and Gawn Grainger as 'Louis' with Theo Barklem-Biggs as 'Pete', Mark Ebulue as 'Aloysius', David Jonsson as 'Col', Dominique Moore as 'Lottie', Alice Orr-Ewing as 'Mattie' and 'Ruby', Himesh Patel as 'Vagabond', Danielle Vitalis as 'Elvira', Eleanor Wyld as 'Dalia', Mark Extance, Emma Naomi, Adrian Richards and William Spray. Directed by Patrick Marber. PLEASE NOTE: Age recommendation is 16 and above.
David Tennant's West End credits include Josie Rourke's revival of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing with Catherine Tate at the Wyndham's Theatre in 2011; Gregory Doran's revival of Shakespeare's Hamlet with Patrick Stewart at the Novello Theatre in 2008; and Mark Brokaw's West End Premiere of Kenneth Lonergan's play Lobby Hero at the Donmar Warehouse and Ambassadors Theatre in 2002.
When this revival opened at the Wyndham's Theatre in March 2017, Michael Billington in the Guardian highlighted that "in Patrick Marber’s sprightly update of Molière’s comic morality play... it is David Tennant’s performance that gives the play a disturbing ambivalence," while "Adrian Scarborough is equally good as his potato-faced sidekick," adding that, "what is unnerving, however, is Tennant's capacity to make us empathise with an impenitent egotist driven by sexual obsession." Paul Taylor in the i newspaper said: "Patrick Marber directs a revival of his 2006 play that, if you get on its wavelength, can make you almost vomit with laughter - and anxiety - as it updates this archetypal erotomane... David Tennant is magnificent in the title role," that has been "brilliantly re-conceived by Patrick Marber." Rod McPhee in the Daily Mirror noted that "this is David Tennant as we've never seen him before... it's a brilliant, bawdy romp... go and see a sensational performance from Davidd Tennant." Ian Shuttleworth in the Financial Times wrote that "Patrick Marber’s revival may not cut as deeply as some might wish, but it is certainly sharp." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail described how "Mr Marber's writing is full of verve and has been updated to include topical swipes at everyone from Donald Trump to little Prince George... After two hours of this raunchy braggart satisfying his lusts, the play comes to no powerful conclusion... It may be exotic and handsome but ultimately it is as hooked on shallowness as Don Juan." Neil Norman in the Daily Express held that, as DJ, "David Tennant is about as convincing as a guinea pig impersonating a tarantula. He is not alone. There is woeful work from several actors on stage, their delivery so operatically artificial that they seem to think they are in a 1950s Shakespeare production... This is a subtlety-free zone in all respects and the video and dance inserts are lamentable. A catastrophically ill-favoured production." Ann Treneman in the Times said that Patrick Marber "directs and the production is uneven, not to mention borderline tacky at times. But it is also funny, acerbic, biting." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard explained that "there are two reasons to see this revival of Patrick Marber's racy play — David Tennant and Adrian Scarborough. Tennant is obviously the big draw in the title role, and he's a charismatic blend of swagger and agility... Alongside him, as his hangdog chauffeur and fixer, Scarborough is a delight...But there are too many moments when the play lacks bite and seems crude or even a bit dull." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph commented: "I'm not going to beat about the bush. Patrick Marber's updated version of Molière's hoary 1665 comedy strikes me as pants... It might sound odd to suggest that David Tennant emerges with his dignity intact, but you've got to admire the cojones of an actor who manages to lend a certain gravitas as well as his customary twinkle to repellent, unreconstructed skirt-chasing attitudes."
Don Juan In Soho in London at the Wyndham's Theatre previewed from 17 March 2017, opened on 28 March 2017 and closed on 10 June 2017