The Vaults (venue)
12 May 2022 (released)
16 May 2022
Directed by Anastasia Revi, and performed to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Molière’s birth, Theatre Lab Company and Exchange Theatre collaborate to present Dom Juan at The Vaults in Waterloo.
A bilingual production, performed on alternative nights in English and French, this flamboyant play follows the life of a decadent and egocentric playboy, played confidently by Dimitri Jeannest. Endlessly pursuing his next amorous conquest with little remorse, Jeannest brings a provocative swagger to the titular character.
The standout performance however is that of David Furlong as Sganarelle, Don Juan’s loyal yet challenging servant. Seductively greeting the audience on arrival, Furlong sets the tone well for the chaotic helter-skelter that follows, and his alluring charisma steals most scenes throughout.
Perched below the low ceilings of the Vaults theatre, accompanied by the resonating hum of the passing overhead trains into Waterloo, it seems apt that this franticly erratic play gives the impression of derailing at any moment. The dialogue, translated by Brett Bodemer, can occasionally feel muddled and it is easy to contemplate how better served the play would fare in Molière’s native tongue.
Don Juan is nevertheless an engaging and entertaining play, with several comedic moments landing well amidst a labyrinth of lust and desire. Set against the backdrop of a decaying Venitian canal, the small yet talented ensemble members each perform multiple roles to good effect, enabled by the frequent use of masks, which add an alluring quality to an overall immersive production.