Molière’s take on the mythic Spanish rake is steeped in the psychology of Mediterranean Catholicism, in which rebellion against God finds expression in sins of the flesh. The play, which created a firestorm of trouble for its author, begins with Don Juan (Elijah Alexander) holding forth on the earthly delights of a good cigar to his servant Sganarelle (J.D. Cullum) and ends with the unrepentant libertine dragged into the fires of hell. In between, we find him bounding from one woman to another, promising marriage to each in exchange for a night of pleasure. Alexander is fine as both Don Juan the rascal-trickster and the swashbuckling sensualist, but the show belongs to Cullum, who clownishly combines the outrage of a moral conscience with narrow-minded puritanism. As on point as the ensemble is, though, over time a suspicion deepens that this play — or, perhaps, translator Richard Nelson’s adaptation — lacks the rhetorical gunpowder of Molière’s more famous satires. More important, there’s no sense that an idea is being explored, or even a plot with any tension developed — there is simply a chain of scenes that run their course. This feeling is reinforced by Michael Michetti’s production, which hasn’t settled on a unified theme or look. Instead, the show relies upon a pastiche of costumes and comic moods that, in an earlier time, would’ve been called “postmodern.”
Sat., March 29, 8 p.m.; Sun., March 30, 2 & 7 p.m.; April 2-4, 8 p.m., 2008

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