The Playhouse Café, Mapua, Nelson

13/10/2016 - 14/10/2016

Pacific Crystal Palace Spiegeltent, Havelock North Village Green, Havelock North

08/10/2016 - 09/10/2016

Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland

27/10/2016 - 12/11/2016

Circa Two, Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki St, Waterfront, Wellington

25/04/2015 - 23/05/2015

Nelson Arts Festival 2016

Hawkes Bay Arts Festival 2016

Production Details

Don Juan is a party that tells a story. A sexy, fierce, raucous celebration. 

Brought to you by the award winning theatre company, A Slightly Isolated Dog, the world premiere of this story of Don Juan OPENS at Circa 2 on April 25th, and runs until May 23rd

The show uses a cabaret structure: the performers move seamlessly from clowning to scene to song to banter to song to stand-up comedy to interactive audience participation to song to puppetry to dance to song.  Using simple stagecraft they transform the world of the bar into a forest, the ocean, a battle with 20 bandits, a tomb, many taverns, Don Juan’s home, and eventually the hell that Don Juan is dragged into at the end. 

The performers will create the story for us as they search for how to live boldly and freely, like Don Juan.  They question our repression and domestic anxieties:  our desire to be bold and our fears that often keep us from doing the things we want most.  They try and fail to find these answers; ultimately celebrating our uncertainty and our continual attempt to live big.

A Slightly Isolated Dog have won many awards over the past several years for Death and the Dreamlife of Elephants (2009, 2011), Perfectly Wasted (2012 – in partnership with Long Cloud Youth Theatre) and Settling (2007). 

Don Juan  

Circa Two
25 April − 23 May:
Tuesday – Saturday, 7.30pm | Matinee 4.30pm, Sunday 26th April
Late Night Shows Fridays and Saturdays:  1 – 2, 8 – 9, 15 – 16 May at 10pm
Tickets: $20 students; $30 unwaged; $35 waged | Toi/Drama students select days $12 | 

Don Juan feels like you’re being told the story of an outrageous friend of a friend.
Incredibly entertaining. Go with a group…it will be more fun that way” – The Wellingtonista 

“…what theatre could be, not what it has been for the last hundred years. That’d be Don Juan’s greatest conquest” – Arthur Meek, Playwright/Profit and Delight Blog

Don Juantours in 2016 to:

Harcourts Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival
The Pacific Crystal Palace Spiegeltent
Havelock North Village Green, 35 Te Mata Road
8 – 9 October 2016 

Nelson Arts Festival
The Playhouse
Thu 13 & Fri 14 Oct, 8pm [Fri show Sold Out]
75 mins
FULL $35 | SENIOR $30
GROUPS OF 6+ $30 pp
(Group bookings only available at Theatre Royal Nelson)
Plus TicketDirect Service Fee
Book Now!

Don Juanplays Q Theatre’s 2016 Matchbox Season: 
Q Theatre Loft
Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday
from 27 October – 12 November 2016 
Tickets: $25 – $35 (Booking fees may apply)
Tickets from 
Age Restriction: R16 

Free short pop up performances in the Auckland CBD throughout October – dates and locations will be announced on Facebook: 

Don Juan is supported by Creative New Zealand & Waitematā Local Board. It premiered at Circa Theatre, Wellington, 2015.

Don Juan is presented as part of MATCHBOX, the Q Theatre creative development programme.

A Slightly Isolated Dog returns to
Wellington 16 Nov – 3 Dec
with their 2015 smash hit, Don Juan.

This time we’re out of the theatre and into your favourite bar! Experience the story of Don Juan – the world’s greatest lover – with a group of friends and a drink in hand, in a bar where so many have fallen in love & lust, drunk on bravado or drunk on vodka.

Five hilarious performers meet you at the door. They bring you in, they get you a drink, they flirt with you. Maybe they fall a little bit in love with you.

Then they tell the story of Don Juan – with you.

Bring your partner, message your tinder-date or get your friends together for an outrageously funny night out!

**How do I book tickets with Such Crowd?**
Such Crowd is a new platform to book tickets, where you get access to the incredibly low ticket price of $15 in return for purchasing tickets in advance. A little closer to the show time, we confirm the venue, and the price will increase – so we thank you for your early interest in the show by giving you access to the best pricing!
(Ignore the “unconfirmed” sign – our intention is to perform on every night listed.)

Performance dates
16 – 19 November
22 – 26 November
28- 30 November
1 – 3 December
All shows 7.30pm.

2015: Susie Berry, Andrew Paterson, Maaka Pohatu, Jonathan Price, Comfrey Sanders  
2016: Susie Berry, Jack Buchanan, Tim Carlsen, Andrew Paterson, Comfrey Sanders  

Director:  Leo Gene Peters
Designer:  Meg Rollandi
Operator:  Oliver Devlin & Matt Eller (NB. Hawkes Bay only)
Producer:  Angela Green 

Originally devised by:  Maaka Pohatu, Jonathan Price, Susan Berry, Andrew Paterson, Comfrey Sanders, Matt Eller, Leo Gene Peters, Meg Rollandi 

Produced by:  A Slightly Isolated Dog  

Theatre , Puppetry , Cabaret ,

Juan Direction

Review by Nathan Joe 01st Nov 2016

The false illusion of immersive theatre is that the audience co-authors the play with the theatremakers. That without the audience the play would not be the same. But the reality is most interactive theatre experiences are as pre-determined and scripted as any conventional ones. Any sense of freedom or choice is mostly manufactured, never rising beyond a clever gimmick. 

While not strictly a piece of immersive theatre, Don Juan utilises many interactive theatrical techniques to engage the audience with the narrative. It’s to Wellington theatre company A Slightly Isolated Dog’s credit that Don Juan works despite being unable to find solutions for these problems. Their modus operandi seems more concerned with showing the audience a good time, and they do it well. [More


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Feel the love - young dogs give it heaps

Review by Janet McAllister 01st Nov 2016

Don Juan is a most energetic, irrepressibly gleeful and good-natured evening out. A Slightly Isolated Dog is the name of this assured young crew from Wellington, and they know what they’re doing. They tell us they are “very famous and very French” and make Vanessa Paradis puns.

The episodic nature of the archetypal Don Juan story provides the basis for running jokes and fast-paced theatrics, directed with verve by Leo Gene Peters. It’s more silly than sexy; delivered with delight, old gags feel fresh. There are bits of business with microphones and suitcases, and the happily cheesy music (Alanis Morissette, Beyonce’s “Partition”) makes people dance in their chairs. [More


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Their excess is their success

Review by Alistair Browning 28th Oct 2016

I’ve been seduced! 

Five beautiful actors with dodgy French accents cajole, charm, amuse and serenade me into submission and I leap, with full consent, into their loving and very sweaty arms.

It is a joyful thing to watch an audience gather into the traverse space already grinning, laughing and chattering with antici…pation.

Using every theatrical trick in the book, director Leo Gene Peters with actors Susie Berry, Jack Buchanan, Tim Carlsen, Andrew Paterson and Comfrey Sanders, tell us the story of Don Juan, or Don Giovanni: the decadent, entitled, serial seducer of women. It’s an experience that has everyone howling and doubled over with laughter.

We’ve already been chatted up in the Q foyer with suggestive charm and genuine connection. Then, upstairs in the Loft, a succession of seducers, donning cunning disguises, trips us through the light fantastic of love.

We explore every aspect of love: instant infatuation, obsession, possession, betrayal, yearning, sincerity, mendacity, co-dependence, revenge, greed, lust, folie a deux (speaking of dodgy French), divine love – and finally, divine retribution. 

It’s risky to make theatre like this and requires a huge commitment, as well as tightly rehearsed routines and common respect and trust. It is a great credit to these talented performers that their passion, charm and devotion have the audience entirely in their hands from go to whoa. They each by turn exhibit a wide range of skills: mimicry, ventriloquism (kinda), lip sync, mime, direct address, audience participation, song (some awesome ability in R&B and rap in evidence here), stand-up, improvisation, mask work … the list goes on. Every trick in the book, as aforementioned. And they do it with a wonderful sense of fun and joy. Their excess is their success. 

A Slightly Isolated Dog is a Wellington-based company which has been operating for about 10 years, using audience feedback and improvisatory techniques to reflect our stories back to us. This production is as much about us as it is about a lecherous hypocrite from history. Are we ourselves not as naughty as we dare to be; do we not have double standards of our own? Are we not also self-deceptive fools?  

In their own words: “We want to celebrate all the odd and ordinary little things we think, feel, and do through storytelling and performance. We want to be playful and laugh, while trying to understand how we make our way through the world, and create the kind of lives we want to live.”

Sarah Graham, Producer at Q, has worked with A Slightly Isolated Dog and their producer, Angela Green, to bring this as the third and final instalment of Q’s 2016 Matchbox season. Roll on the 2017 season! In the meantime, Don Juan is highly recommended.


Editor November 3rd, 2016

Here is Alistair Browning’s RNZ review of Don Juan

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Fun with a naughty capital ‘F’

Review by Daniel Allan 14th Oct 2016

Like the Homer’s Odyssey or Dante’s Inferno, Tirso de Molina’s Don Juan is one of those old stories we’re loosely aware of but never actually read. Nevertheless, the phrase has come to mean a womanising sort. The show write-up describes him as “the boldest and greatest of men. He does whatever he wants… with sometimes dubious ethical consequences.” Moreover, we are promised “five sexy French actors” who will “celebrate the fool in all of us” through song, physical comedy and flirtation. Sign us up. 

A healthy crowd car-pool to what is fast becoming the ‘iconic’ Playhouse Café, a welcome addition to the Arts Festival venues list. As it turns out, no knowledge of the literary figure of Don Juan is necessary to enjoy this anarchic and frivolous cabaret-flavoured ensemble show.

As promised, five accented performers sashay out to greet and flirt with us at our tables. They are young and fun and their agreed dress code seems to be modern, black and white burlesque. They spend a good deal of time roaming and working the crowd, picking up on likely candidates for the audience interaction that becomes a major feature of the show.

Maurice, in the front row, is identified as the ex of one performer (Comfrey Sanders, in a triumphant return to her home town), and an usher is endowed with being the object of affection for another. These two will be re-incorporated throughout the meta-story of the performers, which alternates with their version of the legendary story of Don Juan.

The story, which is of very little consequence, involves Don Juan (accompanied by his servant Leporello) bedding various lovers, killing their avenging brothers, and being sent to hell by a statue. The woman from the audience who plays the statue gets the biggest cheer of the night. Her rendition of the (quite long and complex) lines of dialogue – whispered into her ear like a poor-man’s tele-prompter – are hilariously spooky. As one performer remarked: “The statue is acting her arse off!” 

The cast are at their most effective in the set-pieces, which range aesthetically between bedroom farce, a street-fighter style computer game and the craft section of Play School. 

The songs, inserted into the mix and sung beautifully, seem almost an after-thought. They are comparatively static, connected only tangentially to the content of the story, and some of the choices miss the mark with the demographic of this audience. They are, nevertheless lovely to listen to, and you could argue for their inclusion as a break in the chaos. 

Everybody, performers and audience alike, has a go at playing the titular role. Don Juan is essentially a snap-back cap with welded-on sunnies, coupled with a charmingly nineties speaker box, voiced by a different actor across the room with a microphone and lip-synched by whoever is manning the box.

‘Manning the box’ would by now have been picked up on as a delightfully naughty phrase by the cast, who are intoxicated by the innuendo potential in everything. Whenever they say Don Juan a whip-crack sound effect strikes their collective behinds: just because.

With the mix of songs, narrative, meta-narrative, flying props, constantly moving actors and the mix of recorded, ambient and amplified sounds (masterfully controlled by Oliver Devlin) it is almost overwhelming for the senses.

While the vibe is barely contained anarchy, we are drawn so inherently into the world that we cannot help but hang on every moment. When the usher finally rejects the performer’s marriage proposal and runs crying from the room, a burly Nelsonian voice sounds from a shadowy booth: “Everything’ll be alright!” and that pretty much sums up our collectively great night out. Fun with a naughty capital ‘F’. 


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A wonderful evening of laughter and fun

Review by Sonia Mackenzie 10th Oct 2016

This performance, a part of the Harcourts Hawkes Bay Arts Festival, has every person in the Spiegeltent laughing in the first five minutes, having been greeted by friendly, flirtatious actors and actresses handing out scarves for the guests to wear during the performance.

The cast of three men and two women have an obvious rapport with each other. It is not possible to pick a ‘best’ as they are delightfully teamed. Interaction with the audience is a large part of the performance, several members being invited to participate. 

The script is fast and racy, diction clear and precise, a few comments of local interest hold the audience. The sexual innuendos are so well done as to not be offensive in any way. The use of a few props change the appearance of the actors when required. The forest of trees that suddenly grows from a pile of umbrellas amazes us all! The sea constructed of a large piece of black polythene complete with cardboard boat shows the wealth of imagination of the director Leo Gene Peters.  Don Juan manages to die gracefully on two occasions. The music, mostly rap, is well done.

There were two outstanding notes: ‘Sink into the Ocean’, a beautiful song sung to perfection, and the sword fight, when the sounds are timed perfectly: there were no weapons, but you hear the drawing of the sword from its scabbard. On the whole it is a wonderful evening of laughter and fun. A slight leaning towards the humour of Monty Python.  My only criticism is that we do not have a programme with the names of the players.

[The performers are:  Susie Berry, Jack Buchanan, Tim Carlsen, Andrew Paterson, Comfrey Sanders – ed.] 


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Surreal comic touches pepper production

Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 28th Apr 2015

I don’t remember seeing anything quite like A Slightly Isolated Dog’s production of Moliere’s Don Juan at Circa 2 before.

The small space has been converted into a theatre-in-the-round but with an aisle near the back where there is normally a row of seats. This aisle makes it possible for the cast of five to involve the entire audience in the mayhem that they create in telling the basic story, with some off-the-wall digressions, of the most famous libertine of all, Don Juan.

Controlled anarchy is the essence of the production, which is taken at a furious clip, that is part scripted, part adlibbed, and involving some well-planned and unthreatening audience participation. The comedy is verbal, physical and at times surreal. Don Juan faces a firing squad with the audience as the executioners, while later they become, with aid of tattered umbrellas, trees in a forest.

Don Juan, who is played by more than one actor during the show, fights off two hundred bandits in a hilarious, skilfully timed skirmish with knives, guns, fists, swords, and a machine gun. He nearly drowns at sea and he goes to Hell after dining with a statue.

Moliere’s plot is, surprisingly, almost intact, despite a comic digression of a running gag of unrequited love between an actor and a member of the audience.

Don Juan’s servant, Sganarelle, who is an important figure in Moliere’s play, eventually makes a brief appearance and his famous lines that end the play (“My wages! My wages!” as his master descends into Hell) are missing; in this context they wouldn’t make any sense.

The cast – Susie Berry, Andrew Paterson, Maaka Pohatu, Jonothan Price and Comfrey Sanders – keep the show moving along with their capable improvisational skills at all times at the ready. They sing the pop songs that punctuate the show well too.

This Don Juan is all about theatricality, artifice and if one suspects that some of the audience are plants then that’s part of the enjoyment too; after all the show describes itself as a party, and a fun one it most certainly is.


Susannah Donovan April 28th, 2015

Thanks for coming Laurie. I am glad you enjoyed it.

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Cleverly crafted fun

Review by John Smythe 26th Apr 2015

After a day drenched in commemoration of the Gallipoli landings and the shocking “sheer waste of good men” that followed, we gather at Circa Two to witness A Slightly Isolated Dog’s brand new recreation of Moliere’s Don Juan (part three of his ‘hypocrisy trilogy’ which also includes A School for Wives and Tartuffe). Is hypocrisy – the pretence of honour and virtue – the common denominator, then? Is the link that the quest for adventure leads the ‘hero’ into a ‘flaming abyss’? Or am I over-thinking a simple accident of scheduling?

The legendary Spaniard Don Juan (upon whom the actual Italian Casanova may have modelled himself 150 years later) is a sex addict: a wonton user (and abuser?) of women and enrager of men who – be they the women’s fathers, brothers, wannabe fiancés, or husbands – want to kill him. And this production seems to assume we already know that, and only need to be reminded of it, in order to get the drift of the sketchy narrative that supports their fun-filled performing.

Tirso de Molina wrote El Burlador de Sevilla in 1630, during Spain’s Golden Age of arts and literature, as a morality-cum-cautionary tale for libertines, and it has been adapted through the ages since. Apart from Molière’s Dom Juan ou le Festin de pierre (1665), Wikipedia lists: Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni with libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte (1787), Byon’s epic poem Don Juan (1821), José de Espronceda’s poem El estudiante de Salamanca (1840) and José Zorrilla‘s play Don Juan Tenorio (1844 – and still performed every November 2 throughout the Spanish-speaking world). 

Each age embraces the myth as a means of commenting on contemporary values, ethics and social mores. That the women all want it and love making ‘love’ with Don Juan – even though some make the mistake of wanting long term commitment as well – raises the question of whether this is a male fantasy or just as well-suited to a female fantasy: the skilled ‘dream lover’ with whom one may be totally abandoned and sexually fulfilled with no strings attached. 

The ensemble nature of this Leo Gene Peters-directed production – played in sexy French accents by Maaka Pohatu, Andrew Paterson, Susie Berry, Comfrey Sanders and Jonathan Price but constantly referencing Wellington in the here and now – renders Don Juan himself a rather elusive character. And those he encounters are even more two-dimensional. So the complex and contrapuntal intricacies of sexual desire and social conventions – let alone the morality, amorality and torments of addiction – are not up for thorough investigation or interrogation here.  

Or are they? Just when I am beginning to think all we are getting is a high-camp skim across the surface of a classic tale, being wantonly used (and abused?) to display highly entertaining acting and singing skills, I realise there is more happening here than initially meets the eye and ear; the ancient tale is being used to reflect the actors and us: the lives all of us have led and are leading here and now.

The central themes are cleverly re-contextualised when members of the audience are enrolled in a heart-breaking event from the past then a desire for something to come, each involving them and a cast-member. (To be more specific would constitute a spoiler.)

Don Juan’s actions are commented on in ways that ostensibly link to the performers’ own lives (“He lied to his father? Have you ever done that?” “Never! Oh, there was that time …”). An extended cogitation on what might be worrying an unusually contemplative Don Juan elicits a compelling array of 21st century problems that totally undercut the presumed heights of passion. The proverbial mirror is getting a good workout here.

That so much seems incidental and even spontaneous is belied by Don Juan’s dialogue being spoken on mic, with enhanced tonality, by one actor while another – wearing DJ’s white baseball cap and coloured scarf, and holding an amplifier / speaker – lip-syncs.  All achieve this feat with a panache that belies their precision, proving this is a meticulously plotted and highly rehearsed show.

Matt Eller’s sound contributions, mostly worked live from his desk in an onstage alcove, are simply superb – the impeccably timed swishing swords and clashing blades, especially. Full credit for the multi-weapon carnage sequence too, which is in such gross bad taste and so ludicrously extended that all we can do in the end is laugh.

The way audience participation – of which there is lots – is handled is totally unthreatening, to the relief of many. Punters are cast in crucial cameo roles and fed lines by the cast which they mostly speak into microphones. It has to be noted this opening night audience is replete with ‘luvvies’ and the actors choose people they know for the cameos and key interactions, so a common comment afterwards is “how will it go with strangers who are not professional actors?”  Just fine, I would guess, and possibly even better, but that remains to be seen.

Proceedings are punctuated with a number of pop songs – by The Coasters, Beyonce, Fiona Apple, Erykah Badu and Kanye West – resoundingly rendered by the cast (aping the American accents of the originals). They do not advance the plot but do reflect the emotional themes, so integrate well while supplying powerful injections of energy.

Meg Rollandi’s design is mostly evident in the costumes, which suggest the cast has raided a dress-up box and attests loud and clear to the playfulness of the whole enterprise. Stock devices are produced from suitcases to evoke such things as storms at sea and a forest of trees, and again the apparently random nature of the design elements belies the astuteness of her choices.

A ‘break for drinks’ interrupts the flow of the show in a rather odd way. Some audience members have realised they can pre-buy shots of something that looks like Irish Cream or Kahlua and milk, and bar staff duly deliver them by tray in a number of shifts while those without tokens wait and watch the perfunctory dancing with which the cast attempts to fill the gap. It’s not quite an interval yet not part of the show and needs to be re-thought.

So, does this Don Juan achieve what the media release suggests? “They question our repression and domestic anxieties: our desire to be bold and our fears that often keep us from doing the things we want most. They try and fail to find these answers; ultimately celebrating our uncertainty and our continual attempt to live big.” I can’t say it resonates that way for me, based on this opening night – although any hollowness sensed below this 80-odd minutes of undeniable fun could well be as crafty as all its other qualities.

More recent online publicity promotes it thus: “A sexy, fierce, raucous celebration. Don Juan explodes with the energy of a music gig or a club. It’s a cabaret. It’s chaos. It’s a furious adrenalized romp through the games of attraction and sexuality. It’s the BEST… PARTY… EVER.” Hyperbole aside, that’s a more accurate description. 

The other possible ‘accident of scheduling’ – and if it is, it’s a happy one – is that the season runs alongside the NZ International Comedy Festival, although it is not part of it. If it had been, it would be hailed as a highly sophisticated show and a cut above the usual fare.


Susannah Donovan April 27th, 2015

Thanks for coming John. I am glad you enjoyed it. 

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