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Review: Don Juan (Pavilion Theatre Worthing)

The tale of Don Juan comes to the Pavilion Theatre Worthing, and passions are high in a delectable re-telling by sexy storytellers A Slightly Isolated Dog.

Don Juan, that crazy rogue, led by his unfettered id much to the dismay of those around him. Women want him, men want to kill him. From the earliest stories of the womaniser in the 17th century to Patrick Marber’s modernised version in Soho, his name has become synonymous with the love rats and sexual deviants of the world. I must admit that I have seen this version before, in a medium sized tent in Edinburgh, I loved it then and, well, I love it now.

A Slightly Isolated Dog are one of the most magically inventive companies I’ve been lucky enough to stumble upon. My God are they fun to be around. Flirting cheekily with the audience as you enter, you are immediately transported into an exhilarating space, where a notoriously famous story begins to unfold in an entirely original way. The cast of five consists of Susie Berry, Jack Buchanan, Andrew Paterson, Jonathan Price and Comfrey Sanders and each one is full of vivacious energy as they dance through the audience with their outrageous French accents (for they are very passionate, and oh so very French).

In this production the narrative almost takes a back seat to the excellent playfulness of the troupe, this is no detriment though, as the company are effortlessly entertaining for their infatuated audience. It is the audience in fact who they use to help tell the story, standing people up and giving them some lines. As an example of audience participation, this is the company that all others should look to for advice, it is a credit to them that many of those involved dive straight in with French accents of their own; only the infectious exuberance of these five performers could make an audience so willing to get involved.

Despite their fantastic hosting and endless compliments, the company do also give us a fairly faithful retelling of the famous story. Don Juan kills the colonel, he seduces the nun, he escapes the brothers before finally getting dragged to hell by a statue (spoilers). All this in an hour. There are a number of standout moments, the way they create an ocean is one of the most gloriously inventive things I have seen in a theatre and when Ginger spots a certain someone in the crowd the subsequent burst into song is inspired; these moments, and plenty more, come together to create a fantastically original piece of theatre.

By the end my face was hurting from smiling non-stop for sixty wonderful minutes. Most of all, the show is fun. Did I mention these five are wonderful? Funny, charming, fantastic performers, singers, dancers, improvisers, the list of compliments could go on and on. Really what I mean to say is, go and see Don Juan. Then go and see their other show, Jekyll and Hyde, when it goes to Edinburgh. It would be foolish to miss either.

Don Juan is on at the Pavilion Theatre Worthing until the 11th July before heading into London where they'll be performing at The Other Palace from the 15th - 20th July.

Don Juan in Worthing -

Don Juan in London -

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