Review – DON JUAN – Giles Forman Center For Acting – 07.2013


  • society/company: Giles Foreman Centre for Acting [GFCA]
  • performance date: 23 Jul 2013
  • venue: Giles Foreman Centre for Acting, Royalty Mews, Soho, London
  • reviewer/s: Susan Elkin (Sardines review)

Moliѐre’s take on the well-known story of the Spanish womaniser who eventually gets carted off to hell – translated here by Kenneth McLeish – is a strange piece which can’t quite make up its mind whether it’s a comedy or a tragedy. In, for example, Mozart’s version you know how you’re supposed to respond – mostly without sympathy. Moliѐre is much more ambiguous. He is also continually exploring Enlightenment attitudes and ideas, especially about atheism which, although it seems a bit laboured in places, helps to ensure that the text is never trivial.

Lucien Guignard’s performance as Don Juan – and it’s an enormous role – is mature and exceptionally well controlled for a student at the beginning of his professional career. Slender and curly haired, he packages the assertive amorality with expressive eyes and such fine body work that he acts even with his feet – and in the very small space of the studio at Giles Foreman Centre for Acting the sight lines are so short that it’s almost televisual. Guignard brings a touch of Rowan Atkinson’s outrageousness to the role and spices it with a sardonic David Tennant-style lightness. It is, by any standards, a masterly piece of work.