Don Juan is one of the enduring European legends: he is the great libertine, a lover and seducer of women, who refuses to repent for living his life by his rules and with no regrets. And if you join A Slightly Isolated Dog for this riotous interpretation of the story, you will have to play by their rules – but you too will have absolutely no regrets about one of the most enjoyable shows on the Fringe.
It’s a very informal opening, with the cast of five coming round to chat as we get settled. They are all very charming, and we are all very beautiful; perhaps the most beautiful group of people ever gathered in one place. Speaking for myself, I’m pretty sure this isn’t the case, but I’m still feeling pretty good about things. The informality is an ongoing part of the experience: there are continual asides, sometimes just to you or your section of the audience, which make this show – for all its exuberance – a surprisingly intimate experience.
Within all the playfulness we do get a fairly faithful retelling of the Don Juan myth. There is the Colonel whom he has killed, Donna Elvira the abandoned wife, the put-upon manservant, and of course, the statue. Early on they address some of the dodgier aspects of Don Juan’s behaviour, with an acknowledgement of “consensual creepiness” – best to get that out of the way.
The show is an anarchic explosion of fun, full of wit and passion. (They are very passionate, and very French.) There’s a wonderful depiction of a storm at sea that envelops the whole of the space, and some perfectly timed and placed running gags with the audience – particularly an ongoing joke that explodes exquisitely into an especially anachronistic song. In fact, there are some great tunes here as well. You definitely get value for money.
I thought as it started that I’d made a bad call to sit tucked away at the side, but it was the perfect spot from which to observe how much the audience were enjoying it, and how wonderfully managed the interaction was. It's a particular skill to choose an audience member who is just right for what you ask them to do, and then to make them look good. I got to be part of a firing squad and a tree, but I think any of us would have delighted in joining in wholeheartedly – we were in good hands.
Don Juan was the most fun I’ve had this Fringe. The man himself may get dragged down to hell as ever, but this was a joyous celebration of a show. I laughed out loud an awful lot.