Review: Don John By Kneehigh At BAC

By Hazel Last edited 115 months ago
Review: Don John By Kneehigh At BAC


Don John by Kneehigh Theatre at BAC. It's good. It's really good. And that's not just a recommendation for the regular theatre-goer, Kneehigh Theatre fans, BAC frequenters: its for anyone doubting that theatre is for them because it's hard to imagine anyone not being affected by this intoxicating, sexy and uplifting show.

It's 1978 and Britain is in thrall to strikes, powercuts, Grange Hill (new!), ska, punk and embarrasing haircuts. The new, steep, 500 seat auditorium in BAC's Grand Hall is extremely high, of which the set - a chaotic stack of shipping containers and industrial detritus - makes good use. Don John struts, swings, climbs and slinks through seamlessly shifting scenes, seducing, wooing and discarding lonely Anna, the vicar's wife then clingy, heartbroken, uptight Elvira then vivacious bride-to-be Zerlina.

There's Cscape dance company as the chorus, singing, dancing and scene changing throughout, multi-skilled musicians-dancers-actors performing the story in a dazzling array of ways - scenes are danced, sung, mimed, done solo or in big ensemble jumbles of music and movement and good old straightforward dialogue. There's Anna having passionate, messy blindfolded sex with Don John while hanging off the frame of a shipping container. There's a gun. There's operatic high drama, there's sex, lust, longing, loneliness, betrayal, redemption, drugs and 1970s nostalgia. There's the most tear-jerking Christmas tree since It's A Wonderful Life. Even for the theatre-phobic, there's something that will be special to you.

Because that's the magic of this Kneehigh production: it lifts the audience out of the ordinary world and makes you laugh, choke back tears, sigh for the wrong 'un Don John and the way he jumps from the rafters straight into a sexy clinch with an unsuspecting lady, makes you want to get up and dance your way into this rich and dazzling world of colour, music and lovelorn intrigue. And, as if by even more magic, you can dance. Just be sure to stay for the encore and sit near the front. A 'don't miss' show.

Don John at BAC, until 9 May. For more information and for tickets, go to the BAC website.

Last Updated 13 April 2009