HERE’S a story of our times - a blue chip company has a dazzling run featuring big star names and looks a surefire safe bet for Christmas entertainment; so despite the credit crunch you part with your hard earned cash, maybe as a present to a dear one or as a treat for yourself and family , and turn up at the Courtyard Theatre.
And what do you find? Don John performed by Kneehigh Theatre is what you find, possibly the most dire evening of entertainment on stage anywhere in the region at the moment.
Tut tuts from the audience gave an early indication that this was perhaps not the seasonal fare people were expecting - empty seats after the interval showed people were voting with their feet.
Based loosely on Mozart’s Don Giovanni and set in the Britain of 1978, it’s the tale of a womanising Don Juan who gets his come-uppance.
The set is a mess - for some reason the action takes place in a shipping container that has to be wheeled on and off centre stage - while the profusion of east European accents make it sound more like the Gdansk shipyard of Poland’s Solidarity than anything in Britain.
Of course director Emma Rice could be really referring to 2008, in which case the play is more of a mess than first meets the eye.
It’s also an all-white cast - not unusual in 1978 perhaps, but Britain was still a multi-racial country then, even if the term hadn’t been invented.
The play moves to the Birmingham Rep from February 17-21 and then the Warwick Arts Centre from Feb 24-28 when, outside the Christmas season, it should go down better with audiences.
However as far as Stratford is concerned this has been a major scheduling mistake - it continues at The Courtyard until January 10.