Q&A with Don Juan in Soho's Adrian Scarborough

Posted on 3 April 2017

Olivier award-winning actor, Adrian Scarborough is back on stage for the first time since his role as the Fool in the National’s 2014 production of King Lear. He is appearing along-side David Tennant in Patrick Marber’s acclaimed Don Juan in Soho at the Wyndham’s Theatre. Read on to find out what it’s like performing at the Wyndham’s and what David Tennant means by ‘squeaky bum time.’

HF: Don Juan is loosely based on a Moliere tragicomedy, another of which is currently on stage just down the road. What is it about Moliere’s work that is still relevant to today’s audiences?

AS: Moliere was wise enough to know that longevity in the theatre was best achieved by using universal themes for all his plays, and that satire and comedy make for a great night out.

HF: You are part of a strong company of accomplished actors. How has it been performing with everyone?

AS: My breath is continually taken away by the unbelievable talents of our company. They sing in four-part harmony, they dance like the funkiest of dudes, and they can really act. They also know how to laugh and twinkle and have fun in order to make every show a unique treat. They are the finest of players.

HF: Patrick Marber is directing this production and has adapted the text. Is working on a show different with the writer sat in the room?

AS: Having access to the writer in rehearsal is a glorious blessing, particularly when the play is as modern and topical as this is. Patrick is crafting lines from all the news headlines on a daily basis to keep us satirically relevant. It’s a thrilling rollercoaster, the audiences love it.

HF: You are known to many for some great comedy roles, on film, TV and in the theatre. How does it feel to take on another comic character?

AS: I haven’t been on stage for three years so it’s been a scary few weeks getting back into the swing of live performance. David Tennant calls it “Squeaky bum time”!  I love the character of Stan very dearly. He’s a true romantic who sees the best in everyone, an eternal optimist, who has become jaded by his association with Don Juan. As I near 50 I can empathise with a lot of that!

HF: How did you come to choose theatre as a profession?

AS: It sort of chose me. I was so terrible at everything else, that I only had one viable option! Mercifully it’s sort of worked out.

HF:  The Wyndham’s has a history of great theatre work. How does it feel to be treading the boards of this esteemed venue?

AS: I think the Wyndham’s is the theatre every actor wants to play. It’s right there in the heart of Theatreland with a history that beggars belief. Tallulah Bankhead, The Boyfriend, Joan Littlewood’s company, Pinter’s No Man’s Land, Side By Side By Sondheim, Albee’s Three Tall Women, Sunday In The Park With George. It’s awash with the finest theatre ghosts. It’s also architecturally astonishing. There’s barely a duff seat in the house, even from the back of the balcony you can see the full height of the proscenium arch. It’s a joy to play.

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Harrison Fuller

By Harrison Fuller

Theatre manager, writer, maker.