*mild spoilers ahead; serious analysis from here. A lighter analysis right afterwards*
So two days ago I had the privilege of watching Don Juan in Soho at Wyndham’s Theatre. And when I say privilege, I mean it.
I’ve read the reviews. I’ve seen the tweets. I’ve heard about the sex and the humour and much like everyone else, I’ve been waiting for them. But there’s way, way more to this play than just this.
Not to say they’re not important parts of it; I think we spent over half the play laughing. And yes, there are certainly some saucy scenes, that really make you want to grab David and do some things you most certainly shouldn’t. But that’s just not what this is about.
That is, that’s not what stuck to my mind when I left the theatre.
For me, the key moment was the rant. In this scene, DJ is confronted by Stan after having lied to his father (and to Stan himself) about planning to change his ways. He wants DJ to tell him he’s important to him, that he loves him.
DJ won’t do it. “You’re the only one I’ve ever been honest with,” He tells him, before moving on to talk the fake hell we’re all living in. “This is the age of apology,” He tells him. “Don’t confuse it with authenticity.” Because there’s the thing - the world is full of so many hypocrites, of so many dicks and idiots who think they’re something (”A fake tanned, an orangutan!”), of so many people who’re just so busy telling everyone what they think and what they’re doing any second that they don’t actually live anymore. The world is full of liars, of people with no integrity or ones who’d give theirs up for the right price, of people who hurt others and make excuses for it, or hide behind a mask made by society. Welcome to 2017.
I’ve read a lot about that speech. I know certain people thought it ‘over the top’. Too much. Pretentious. Somewhat true but… Or complete nonsense.
We live in a society where it’s okay to lie to each other so long as we tell ourselves it’s for someone else. We live in a society where it’s okay to think only about yourself, and hurt whoever you might have to in order to get what you want. We live in a society where it’s okay to lie to yourself - no, it’s not only okay, it’s even encouraged. We live in a society where everybody’s so busy vlogging and taking selfies that they no longer actually live.
The world is going to hell, and we’re the ones taking it there.
Later on in that scene Stan tells DJ he’s not human. DJ tells him that on the contrary - he’s the only true human. He lives for his pleasure, and screw everyone else (quite literally). But the thing is, what makes him the only ‘true human’ isn’t that - it’s the fact he just doesn’t hide it, like everybody else does.
Not to say that DJ’s guilt-free, hurt-whoever-it-may life is the way to go, but how does DJ put it? “I know what I am and I understand it: I’m a child, a creature only of want. I choose this life and I own it. And no one owns me. Free will: it’s the only thing we all have. And the only thing worth having. And most of us deny we have it at all.” (Don Juan In Soho, Act 3)
And that’s the point of this play.
*end serious analysis*
What can I say?
Aside from this analysis, there’s an awful lot to say about this play. It’s absolutely hilarious - the script is fantastically written (and even more fantastically updated), the cast is doing a marvellous job and the production is beautiful. There are bits of singing and dancing - with a teeny bit of David and Adrian singing a duet and dancing - and then there are dreadful scenes, and funny scenes, and serious moments, and some sex sprinkled on top. I know I sat in that theatre for nearly two hours, but it genuinely felt like ten minutes.
David is absolutely magnificent (and also ‘magnificently fuckable’, but I think we all knew that already). From his faces (goodness, his expressions are something!) to his movements to his speech to his amazing comedic timing, he was absolutely amazing, during every single second of the play. “Please don’t be charmed, he’s not a lovable rogue,” Stan asks us in the beginning, but with David playing DJ, it’s quite impossible not to.
Adrian did a marvellous job as Stan. The differences between him and David compliment them both as well as the production as a whole, and he’s funny, his timing is brilliant and he delivers both lines and emotions beautifully. It’s hard not to feel for him by the first ten minutes of the play.
The play as a whole is certainly dazzling. Between the music, the lighting and the smoke, it feels more like Soho - Don Juan’s romanticised Soho - than Soho itself. The fact the play is clearly updated all the time just makes it even more amazing - it feels like DJ is actually speaking to the audience, like he’s living amongst us, and in a matter of speaking, he is. Patrick Marber is certainly right to keep doing it.
What else can I say? I really wish I could watch it again (tough life for those of us who don’t live in the UK, eh?). I do recommend seeing it - it’s one of the best things in the West End right now, if not the best. I’ve been waiting for it for about four months, but it was totally worth it.
*I gotta admit, with how much everybody’s talking about the sex, I half expected it to be like Casanova, but there’s a lot more of seduction than there is of sex, and there’s a lot more about our lives and mankind than it is about both of them. That being said, seeing him in a gold robe and red knickers - yes, knickers - or getting a blowjob are certainly enough to make you wish you could have him for a night.
**David’s entrance after the intermission may have been one of the funniest things I’ve even seen. Plus, with that mask and the gold robe…
***There’s a bit in the beginning where DJ wants to smoke in the hotel, and Stan tells him he can’t. DJ goes, ‘Watch me’ and has Stan light him a cigarette. A couple of minutes later a hotel employee walks in and he lets her take it, telling her he had no idea he can’t smoke. As soon as she’s gone, he lights another one, only to have her come back and go through the same thing again. When she leaves, he takes a good, appreciative look at her bum… and then lights another one. This time a big, quite threatening looking male employee walks in and DJ is forced to give up his cigarette again. And as he walks out, DJ makes sure to survey his backside just as well… The perfect description of DJ ;)
****There are a couple of bits where you desperately want to hold DJ and promise everything will be okay… I’m not gonna lie, he’s an arse, but you just can’t help but like him.
*****David does look a bit vampite-y in the end, doesn’t he? Between the make up they have on him, the white shirt and the blood all over him, he seems a bit pale and oddly vampire-like. Or is it just me?
Of course, since it was April 18, the folks at Wyndham’s were ready and brought a ton of party poppers, which they gave out to everyone at the Stage Door. As soon as David came out, we all started singing Happy Birthday and pop them and it was simply wonderful. Seeing the look on David’s face when we did was more than enough, and I’m just happy I could be there and be a part of it, even though I didn’t get to talk to him.
“I’m wearing all white Dr. Martens shoes, high waisted pleated plants, a Gosha x Fila turtle neck, and a burgundy coat. A lot of things inspire me, I really like streetwear of course as well as high fashion. I dress based on colors, new trends, and cuts of clothes that will compliment each other.”