ReDiscoveries2012 Season |  February to April 2012


by Ödön von Horváth
in a new version by Duncan Macmillan


Tuesday, 28 February -  Saturday, 24 March 2012

The world premiere of a new version

Nominated for four Off West End Awards -
Best Male Performance (Zubin Varla)
Best Ensemble Acting
Best Lighting Designer (Neill Brinkworth)
Best Set Designer (Ellan Parry)

***** Five Stars WhatsOnTheFringe
**** Four Stars, The Public Reviews 

Don Juan’s back from the War and he’s got some catching up to do. Berlin is crumbling, but after years of abstinence, the Don is ready for more of the debauchery that once made his name. Amidst political and economic upheaval, Don Juan finds himself increasingly at odds with the man he used to be. Is this notorious lothario about to experience a sudden change of heart?

Ödön von Horváth’s startling tale of displacement and isolation in the aftermath of the Great War is presented in a bold new adaptation by award-winning playwright Duncan Macmillan.



Playwright Ödön von Horváth (1901-1938) was born in Fiume, now Rijeka, near Trieste on 9 December 1901. His father being a diplomat, the family moved from country to country."I am a melange of Old Austria; Hungarian, Croat, Czech, German; alas, nothing Semitic". His plays include Tales From the Vienna Woods, Judgment Day, Faith Hope and Charity and Italian Night. Choosing to stay in Germany and document the rise of National Socialism, his work was violently repressed by the Third Reich, and many of his masterpieces including Don Juan Comes Back From The War were never performed until after his death. In later years, he turned to writing novels, and his popular works A Child of Our Time and Youth Without God are considered modern classics. He was killed on 1 June 1938 at the age of 38, in a freak accident on the Champs-Elysées, when a branch of the chestnut tree under which he was sheltering from a thunderstorm fell on his head. He also appears as the lead character in Christopher Hampton's play Tales from Hollywood.



Playwright Duncan Macmillan has been Writer-in-Residence at Paines Plough, the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, and the Studio Theatre, Washington D.C. His plays include Lungs (Paines Plough and Sheffield Theatres and the Studio Theatre, Washington D.C.), Monster (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester as part of the Manchester International Festival), The Most Humane Way to Kill A Lobster (Theatre 503), and I Wish To Apologise For My Part In The Apocalypse, So Say All of Us and Family Tree (all BBC Radio 4).


Director Andrea Ferran is the third recipient of the Leverhulme Directors’ Bursary, becoming Director in Residence at the National Theatre Studio and the Finborough Theatre in 2011. Directing includes Neighbors, The Language Archive, Another Man’s Son, Horses in a Storm (National Theatre Studio), Les Enfants Terribles (Arcola Theatre), Sleeping Rough (HighTide Lab), Fen (Rose Theatre Studio), Romeo and Juliet (Bechstein Hall and The Old Vic), Far Away (Kennedy Center, Washington DC), and The Woman, The Secret Life of the Office Worker (Riverside Theatre). She completed her Directing MFA at Columbia University in New York City supported by a UNESCO Leventis Scholarship. Andrea also trained on the Royal Opera House Directors Course, with a Directing Fellowship at the Kennedy Centre, Washington DC, and at the Lincoln Centre Directors Lab, New York City.


Designer Ellan Parry returns to the Finborough Theatre where she designed After Haggerty (2006). Trained at Motley and Wimbledon School of Art. Costume Designs includes Electric Hotel (Fuel, Sadlers Wells and National Tour), Plucker (Southwark Playhouse) and Moonfleece (Riverside Studios and National Tour).  Ellan was Associate Set Designer for Pippin (Menier Chocolate Factory), and Set Designer for Katy Brand's Big Ass Show Live (Leicester Square Theatre and National Tour). Set And Costume Design for Opera includes Carmen (Blackheath Halls), Les Dialogues Des Carmelites and Albert Herring (Trinity-Laban College) and Icarus (Tete a Tete Opera Festival). She has also worked as an Art Director for stage projection visuals on Placebo's recent European tour, and a community production of The Magic Flute (Glyndebourne). Ellan is a previous winner of the Jocelyn Herbert Award, and a Linbury Prize Finalist.


Charlie Cameron trained at Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance and Laine Theatre Arts.
Theatre includes Salad Days  (Riverside Studios), The Crucible (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park), Peter Pan (Theatre Royal Brighton), Martha From Admin (Tristan Bates Theatre), Saturday Night (Arts Theatre and Jermyn Street Theatre), Grease (Piccadilly Theatre) and Eugene Onegin (London Coliseum).
Television animation includes Angelina Ballerina, Poppy Cat, Third and Bird and Lisa.

Laura Dos Santos trained at LAMDA.
Theatre includes Educating Rita for which she received a nomination for the Evening Standard Awards Outstanding Newcomer (Menier Chocolate Factory and Trafalgar Studios), We Will Be Gone (Camden People's Theatre), Look Back In Anger (Jermyn Street Theatre), Stags and Hens - The Remix (Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool), On The Middle Day (The Old Vic), In Your Hands (New End Theatre) and The Morris (Everyman Theatre, Liverpool).
Television includes Wallander, Bad Girls, Fingersmith, Innocent Party and The Bill.
Radio includes The House of Mercy, Educating Rita, Lennon: A Week In The Life and Life On The Edges.

Eileen Nicholas Theatre includes All About My Mother (The Old Vic), Buried Child (Upstairs at the Gatehouse), Lobster/Vantastic (Oval House Theatre), Through the Leaves (Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, and Bush Theatre), Elizabeth Gordon Quinn  (Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh), Same Old Moon (Gielgud Theatre), Juno and the Paycock (Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh), American Bagpipes (Royal Court Theatre and the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester), Endgame (Donmar Warehouse), Request Programme for which she was awarded the Time Out Theatre Award (Donmar Warehouse), The Revenger's Tragedy (Theatre Royal Bath) and Lady of Letters (Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds).
Film includes January, Wee Man, Late Bloomers, Trainspotting, Regeneration, Mr Corbett's Ghost, Widowmaker and Bomber for which she won the Best Actress Award at the Oregon, Nashville and Kiev Film Festivals.
Television includes Law and Order UK, Half Broken Things, Taggart, Between the Lines, The Bill, Casualty, Dr Finlay's Casebook, Doctors, The Final Run and Mitch.
Sarah Sweeney Theatre includes The Kitchen (National Theatre), The Crash of the Elysium, The Masque of the Red Death and Lord Bullingdon’s Last Cigar (Punchdrunk at BAC), Limehouse Nights (Kandinsky Theatre Company at Limehouse Town Hall), The Bird  and The Bee (Kandinsky Theatre Company at Underbelly, Edinburgh) 6 Star and No Longer I (Old Vic New Voices at the Public Theater, New York) It’s Oh So Quiet (Theatre 503), The Dog in the Manger (Rogues’ Gallery at Hoxton Hall), The Astronaut Wives’ Club (National Youth Theatre at Soho Theatre) and Antigone at Hell’s Mouth (Kneehigh Theatre and National Youth Theatre at Soho Theatre).
Short Film includes Automate, The Vase and Watch Over Me II.
Rosie Thomson At the Finborough Theatre, Rosie appeared in Fen (2011).
Other theatre includes The Kitchen (National Theatre), The Cherry Orchard (National Theatre), Yes, Prime Minister (Gielgud Theatre), Scrabble (DryWrite at Latitude), I Caught Crabs in Walberswick (Eastern Angles, HighTide and National Tour), The Hothouse (National Theatre), Sleeve Notes  (The Apathists at Theatre 503) and The Most Humane Way To Kill A Lobster  (The Young Vic and Theatre 503).
Film includes Enigma and Women and Children.
Television includes Doctors, The Bill, EastEnders, Dream Team, A Touch of Frost, Judge John Deed, Family Affairs and Second Sight.

Zubin Varla trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. 
Theatre includes Into Thy Hands (Wilton’s Music Hall), WarHorse (National Theatre and New London Theatre), Twelfth Night (Donmar Warehouse and Wyndham’s Theatre), Paradise Regained (Royal Court Theatre), The Enchantment, Attempts on Her Life, The Life of Galileo and Cyrano de Bergerac (National Theatre), Julius Caesar (Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith), Julius Caesar, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Midnight’s Children, The Tempest, Roberto Zucco, Bartholomew Fair, Faust, The Painter of Dishonour and Romeo and Juliet (Royal Shakespeare Company), Antigone (Warehouse Productions and The Old Vic), Jesus Christ Superstar (Lyceum Theatre), Amadeus (City of London Sinfonia and UK Tour), Hello and Goodbye (Southwark Playhouse), Teeth ‘n’ Smiles (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield), Chess (Danish Tour) In the Solitude of Cotton Fields (Actors Touring Company), A Day Like Today (The Young Vic), Beautiful Thing (Duke of York’s Theatre), In the Heart of America (Bush Theatre), A Connecticut Yankee in the Court of King Arthur, Romeo and Juliet and Lady Be Good (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park).
Film includes Mad, Sad and Bad and Jacob.
Television includes Holby City, Garrow’s Law, Hustle, Little Dorrit, Saddam’s Tribe, Silent Witness, Spooks, Twelfth Night, Dalziel and Pascoe, The Bill, Crocodile Shoes and Luv.
Radio includes The Wild Neighbour and the Willing Coward, I Claudius, The Changeling, The Threepenny Opera, The Prospect II, ID, The Inheritance of Loss, A Dish of Pomegranates, The Wizard of Oz, Season of Migration to the North, Gandhi’s Goat, The Night of the Mi’Rag, and The Mahabarata.
Albums include Nitin Sawhney’s Human, Jesus Christ Superstar and Chess.

Leah Whitaker trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
At the Finborough Theatre, Leah appeared in Seven Pages Unsigned as part of Vibrant – An Anniversary Festival of Finborough Playwrights (2010).
Theatre includes Earthquakes in London (Headlong and National Theatre), The Heretic and Ignition 2 (Royal Court Theatre), Counted (Look Left Look Right  and The Roundhouse), Pride and Prejudice (Theatre Royal Bath), Harvest (Oxford Playhouse and Royal Court Theatre), Found in the Ground (The Wrestling School and Riverside Studios) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (The Milton Rooms, Malton).
Television includes Eggbox, Holby City, EastEnders and Midsomer Murders.
Radio includes Mum’s Over the Moon.


“A pure adrenalin rush.” The Times on Les Enfants Terribles

“Impressively staged…inventive choreography and really committed performances catch that dream-like world exactly.” The Guardian on Les Enfants Terribles


“Macmillan’s play is at once harrowing and blisteringly funny, bleak and redemptive...The play elicited rapt attention, garrulous laughter, some tears and even audible gasps...bursts onto the stage with urgency and vitality.” ***** Five Stars, WhatsOnStage on Lungs

“Macmillan’s play is a timely and gripping dissection of parenting and responsibility… this is a mature, intelligent and passionate play.” **** Four Stars, The Guardian on Monster

“I loved this, I thought it was a really electrifying new voice coming into the theatre… Duncan Macmillan is absolutely a name to be looking out for in the future.” Charlotte Keatley, Front Row Radio 4 on Monster

“Duncan Macmillan's distinctive, off-kilter love story is brutally honest, funny, edgy and current. It gives voice to a generation.” The Guardian on Lungs

“Macmillan…is capable of combining a complexity of characterisation with sharp twists in a plot that is propelled along on a stream of punchy dialogue… Monster is engrossing and menacing and merits a long run and wider airing.” The Independent on Monster

“Macmillan's writing is beautifully off beat, wry and surprising.” Time Out on The Most Humane Way To Kill A Lobster


"Probably the most interesting production in London this week is a world premiere of a new version of Don Juan Comes Back from the War"  Fringe Report

"Please go to the Finborough and see this astounding production!"  Carolin Kopplin,

"Given the intimacy of the Finborough Theatre, this is not a piece for the fainthearted, but it is top notch theatre. Go and see it."  Karandash, Whats On The Fringe

"Ödön von Horváth’s startling tale of displacement and isolation in the aftermath of the Great War is presented in a bold new adaptation by award-winning playwright Duncan Macmillan"  Fringe Report

"In Duncan MacMillan's new version the writing is gritty, grimy, and powerful, while director Andrea Ferran's production has some mesmerising moments and beautifully acted memorable scenes that liberate a raw sensuality."  Jo Sutherland, The Stage

"Duncan Macmillan's adaptation of Ödön von Horváth's classic is callously bleak" Chris Hislop, One Stop Arts

"The von Horvath is long overdue a revival and Duncan Macmillan’s version does it proud." Karandash, Whats On The Fringe

"...the considerable surreal humour in Duncan Macmillan's new adaptation" Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out

"Zubin Varla’s Don Juan is a piece de resistance. Charming rather than charismatic, he is like a wounded bird, frantically flapping but destined to fade." Karandash, Whats On The Fringe

"Zubin Varla as Don Juan is a force of nature, a great seducer, erratic, neurotic and fragile."  Jo Sutherland, The Stage

"At the play’s centre Zubin Varla movingly displays a range of emotions from demonic energy to debilitated confusion and despair, holding our attention and sympathy throughout."  Fringe Report

"Varla holds it together with this monster of a role. A charming, frightening spectre of a lothario, his cracked, hoarse delivery fills the room with haunting sibilance, and he is given a wealth of beautiful lines and moments to shine."  Chris Hislop, One Stop Arts

"Zubin Varla is hardly off the stage as the lusty lothario and is mesmerising throughout as a man whose certainties are being stripped away as he attempts to fight his nature and reach for his ‘pure bride’ whom he jilted at the altar – he thought perfection lay just around the corner yet there it remains. Varla cavorts, carouses, seduces, strips with persuasive sexual energy, but it is the agony that he can’t conceal that really touches one in what at times feels like a Herculean performance." Ian Foster, The Public Reviews

"Zubin Varla as Don Juan is a force of nature, a great seducer, erratic, neurotic and fragile."  Jo Sutherland, The Stage

"RSC and NT regular Zubin Varla in the title role." Andrzej Lukowski,  Time Out

"...a fantastic Don Juan in Zubin Varla who perfectly conveys the vanity, quiet desperation and vulnerability of his character. Rosie Thomson is excellent as the Mother who tries to scrape out a living for herself and her daughter after being dismissed to make room for the returning soldiers. Charlie Cameron is charming and disturbing as the Lolita-like Girl. Leah Whitaker, "He's surrounded by a brilliant ensemble of women. Each one he comes across is fascinated with him and there's a great range of carefully nuanced performances, whether childish, stoic, fragile or wry." Vicky Ellis, Whats On Stage

"Laura Dos Santos, Eileen Nicholas, and Sarah Sweeney are outstanding as their various female characters." Carolin Kopplin,

"The excellent Charlie Cameron" Julia Rank, Exuent Magazine

"Rosie Thomson is particularly strong in this role, as her character warily softens and then hardens again against the sinner."  Fringe Report

"There’s also excellent work from Laura Dos Santos who recurs powerfully in the final three scenarios.
Andrea Ferran’s direction does not shy away from the bleakness of the material but threads a vein of mordant dark humour" Ian Foster, The Public Reviews

"Director Andrea Ferran presents a fresh and relentless view of this intriguing play" Carolin Kopplin,

"Edward Lewis’s ominous soundscape and Neil Brinkworth’s lighting work together seamlessly, and Ellan Parry’s striking design suggests a run-down urban setting and prison, with metal grill for a floor and barbed wire at the back of the stage." Julia Rank, Exuent Magazine

"Ellan Parry’s spare design and period props compliment the piece exactly." Karandash, Whats On The Fringe

"When it comes to production values, the Finborough shows us just how it’s done in a fringe venue."  Everything Theatre

"...once again the Finborough theatre impresses with its clever yet simple set design"  Everything Theatre


Tuesday, 28 February – Saturday, 24 March 2012

Tuesday to Saturday Evenings at 7.30pm.
Sunday Matinees at 3.00pm.
Saturday Matinees 3.00pm (from 10 March 2012).

Performance Length: Approximately 1 hour 40 minutes with no interval

28 February - 24 March 2012

Tickets £13, £9 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £9 all seats, and Saturday evenings £13 all seats.
Previews (28 and 29 February) £9 all seats.

£5 tickets for Under 30’s for performances from Tuesday to Sunday of the first week when booked online only.

£10 tickets for residents of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on Saturday, 5 March 2011 when booked online only.

13 March–24 March 2012

Tickets £15, £11 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £11 all seats, and Saturday evenings £15 all seats. 

For details of our Returns Policy for sold out performances, please click here



Image copyright Jonás García

Directed by Andrea Ferran

Designed by Ellan Parry

Lighting by Neill Brinkworth

Sound by Edward Lewis

Dramaturgy by Deirdre McLaughlin

Presented by Lucy Jackson for Volta Theatre in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre and the National Theatre Studio.