This, spouts Shaw in his endless introduction, is a play of ideas. It ends with a marriage or two and the entire cast laughing. It features a dreamt discussion between Don Juan and the Devil, amongst others, in Hell.
It is excruciating.
This is a combination of everything fashionable during the late Victorian era. It's a genteel play, it is comedic, it continually alludes to the classics and it has a Big Moral Message. And it goes on. And on. And on and on. At times, it feels as if it's not Don Juan in Hell but the audience, whom are forced to endure hour after hour of twenty-minute long answers to twenty-minute long questions. It has that irritating Wildean element of everything meaning the exact opposite, with the equally infuriating quality of trying to refute that illogic.
There is a nice morality at the heart of the play but it's completely lost in the ridiculous verbiosity. Truth be told, the moment when the scandalous girl meets her illicit husband's father for the first time encapsulates the play's whole argument brilliantly. But that's not enough for Shaw! Instead, he has to analyse and analyse and argue and repeat over and over again the same arguments, the same rebellions, the same conformities.
How I want to pretend that Shaw acted as a prelude to Waugh. How disappointed I am that he is not. Gentle reader, do not be fooled. Read in abbreviation, if at all....Continua