Theatre review: Don Giovanni

Don GiovanniOran Mor, Glasgow ****

AS A VERSION of Don Giovanni, it hardly has time to sketch the outlines of one of the great stories of western civilisation, yet the final show in this year's lunchtime Corona Classic Cuts summer season at Oran Mor delivers a terrific theatrical punch. Written by Scottish Youth Theatre boss Mary McCluskey, the show seizes Lorenzo Da Ponte's libretto for the great Mozart opera, and slims it down to a 40-minute series of high-octane scenes.

Mary Gapinski as the serving man Leporello, Ashley Smith as a hyper-emotional combination of Donnas Elvira and Anna, and Andy Clark as the Don himself, set up a fierce triangular account of Don Giovanni's spectacular career as a heartless seducer and betrayer, his charm, his arrogance, and the moment when he finally crosses a line, and seals his own doom.

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The three leading actors are helped along the way by a chorus of four gorgeous women in diaphanous black, who provide a growing voice of female vengeance as the story unfolds; and by the dazzling style of director Kenny Miller's design, which turns a simple catwalk stage into a gleaming black bed and banqueting table, and finally a path to hell, glowing red behind a screen of glittering silver strands. In the end, the storytelling suffers from the absence of the dead Commander, the "stone guest" who requires Don Giovanni's presence in hell, and the chorus don't quite fill the role, or match the timbre of Mozart's music, thundering in the background. But as a shorthand introduction to the legend, this is a powerful shot of theatre, written in fine rhyming couplets, and delivered with a blazing sense of imminent hellfire.