Don Juan at Cockpit Theatre
A master of mockery, Molière (or as some knew him, Jean-Baptiste Poquelin) wrote his plays for a 17th century audience. But today, in the compact surrounds of The Cockpit Theatre, London, his work is once again entertaining theatre-goers.
The tale of the legendary lothario Don Juan – also known as Dom Juan ou le Festin de Pierre – is an infamous story of a man, a somewhat womanising libertine, whose ability to seduce and adulterous activities lead him time and again to face the wrath of women and their husbands. Nevertheless, by promising marriage and a lover’s lifetime together, Don Juan wins over the hearts and chastity of many, many fair maidens.
Don Juan is accompanied at all times by his long-suffering manservant Sganarelle, who also narrates a large part of the performance. The relationship between master and servant, the powerful versus the powerless, is light and comical – by and large generating the most amount of audience laughs.
La Compagnie de la Flibuste have brought Don Juan: The destiny to the stage in a refreshing, vibrant performance inclusive of song and dance, with just six actors. Xavier Lafarie plays the part of Don Juan, exuding the confidence and poise of this womaniser with a natural flair. Heavy eye make-up and a flamboyant wardrobe (resembling that of Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean) teamed with Lafarie’s French intonations will no doubt encourage a serious stage crush in members of the audience. Meanwhile, Christopher Paddon plays Sganarelle with discipline: a skill the outspoken servant must practise around the turbulent emotions of his master.
The unfaltering dedication of the actors in this production of Don Juan was truly applaudable. The translation of older works, such as those by Molière and even Shakespeare, must continue to adapt to the modern audience. La Compagnie de la Flibuste and its director, Clement de Dadelsen, have successfully brought true theatrical entertainment to London.
Don Juan: The Destiny of a Libertine is at the Cockpit Theatre until 8th December 2013. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.