BWW Review: DON QUIXOTE, Garrick Theatre

BWW Review: DON QUIXOTE, Garrick TheatreFirst seen in Stratford more than two years ago, the RSC's production of Don Quixote has finally transferred to London's West End.

Set in Spain, David Threlfall plays Don Quixote, a man exasperated with the lack of chivalry he sees around him. A fantasist who is obsessed with becoming a knight, he proclaims himself a knight errant and embarks on a series of adventures with his faithful squire Sancho Panza (the brilliant Rufus Hound).

BWW Review: DON QUIXOTE, Garrick TheatreThere's a touch of King Lear about Threlfall's Quixote as he descends further into madness. Believing that windmills are giants, herds of sheep are armies of men about to do battle and that there are wizards hiding in the forest, he pushes everyone away except Sancho.

Threlfall's straight man is the perfect foil for Hound's simple-minded but hilarious Sancho. And there's also fantastic support from the rest of the cast - it seems the production can do no wrong.

In fact, the audience are left so engrossed in the fantastical world that Don Quixote has created for himself that, when the fire alarm went off during press night, the audience were unsure if it was part of the production or not. The moment was expertly, and as to be expected, entertainingly handled by Hound and the rest of the cast.

Some moments feel very pantomime, such as when the cast suddenly hurls buns at the audience during a fight scene causing chaos for several minutes. However Hound's direct addresses to the audience (and those sitting in the front row), as well as a swearing clumsy Benedictine monk and sassy horses more than make up for those moments.

Toby Olie creates some extremely inventive puppetry which is handled well by the cast, and songs by composer Grant Olding with lyrics by author James Fenton add a haunting element to the play.

The production is close to three hours in length, however Fenton's new adaptation does well to avoid becoming tiresome. Quick-paced and hilarious throughout, thanks to Angus Jackson's direction, with a Monty Python-like nature, Fenton does well to bring Cervantes' novel to life. It's a play that has been seen on stage countless times, but this adaptation is refreshingly modern which will enable it to appeal to a wide audience.

Don Quixote at Garrick Theatre until 2 February, 2019

Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan

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From This Author Laura Jones

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