WORTH A LOOK?: ***
WHERE: Wyndhams Theatre
WHEN 17/3, press night 28/3, runs to 10/6
There’s a moment towards the end of this Molière adaptation where David Tennant rails against former Chancellor George Osborne (announced today as the new editor of the Standard) and Donald Trump to great applause.
- Read on for reasons including why Adrian Scarborough is the highlight of this show
This adaptation by Patrick Marber premiered at the Donmar in 2006 starring Rhys Ifans and gains little from its transfer to the much larger Wyndhams.
Former Doctor Who Tennant is DJ who, with his sidekick Stan (the ever excellent Adrian Scarborough who we last saw in Hedda Gabler at the Old Vic and is especially funny here), seduces and then rejects a young woman and is later pursued by her family.
DJ continues to sleep with other women and take drugs without remorse despite the protestations of his father and the sense of an inescapable and impending doom. It sounds like it should be a lot of fun as Tennant, with English accent, gets away with murder in the very location (although not the same time period) as the play is set.
But the plot feels thin, the question of whether DJ’s corruption is a reflection of a society out of control never really exerts its grip and the two hours and five minutes with interval feels longer than it should.
We criticised director Patrick Marber’s Three Days In The Country at the National in 2015 for its laboured Doctor Who moment and there’s a similar, cringeworthy element here.
We last saw Tennant in a fine Royal Shakespeare Company production of Richard II at the Barbican just over a year ago and it’s a wonder he chose such a weak project as this to follow that up.
He’s always a charismatic actor and while the Osborne/Trump rant shows what he can do in a momentary flash of brilliance, there’s little else spark to illuminate this production.