This is a Royal Shakespeare Production playing at the Garrick Theatre in Charring Cross Road. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t know anything about the play or Don Quixote so had no idea what to expect.
I had dinner at Bill’s in Brewer Street before I walked to the theatre, I’ve been using the Bill’s app for a while now but had no idea I was building up a monetary balance, that meant I had a very tasty, free dinner, a nice added bonus.
A short walk and I was at The Garrick, my first visit to this particular theatre, I was in Row S of the stalls, round about in the middle of the row. It was a great view, the theatre is clearly right above the underground, the noise of trains was disconcerting, but didn’t spoil was what a delightful surprise.
I wasn’t expecting a comedy, but this lovely production is just that. David Threlfall played Don Quixote and Rufus Hound Sancho Panza’. Sancho Panza, interacted with the audience as the performance started and that set the tone for the evening. I’ve been reminded on Twitter that some of that interaction involved throwing stale bread into the audience, which, in some cases was thrown straight back! The cast was a fairly large one, with the ensemble sharing a variety of roles, Richard Leeming, listed as ‘Boy’ was very funny throughout, playing the fool brilliantly!
An extract from the RSC Website by way of explanation –
After a lifetime of reading books on chivalry, one eccentric old man heads off on a rumbustious quest to become a wandering knight, accompanied by his faithful and equally ill-suited servant, ‘riotously performed by David Threlfall as Don Quixote and Rufus Hound as Sancho Panza’ (The Times).
Taking up a lance and sword, Don Quixote sets out on a hilarious journey across medieval Spain, defending the helpless and vanquishing the wicked. Hopelessly unprepared and increasingly losing his grip on reality, with each calamitous adventure the two hapless heroes experience, the romantic ideal of Quixote’s books seems further away than ever.
Following its sell-out run at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2016 to mark the 400th anniversary of Cervantes’ death, our ‘joyous‘ (Guardian) production of the legendary comic novel is told by a company of 20 actors accompanied by a band of live musicians.
Adapted for the stage by James Fenton (The Orphan of Zhao, 2012) and directed by Angus Jackson (Oppenheimer, 2014) this ‘boisterous romp‘ (The Times) transfers to London’s Garrick Theatre for a strictly limited season.
Thus was one of my Monday evening theatre trips, this long production meant I walked in my front door at midnight, but, no regrets! Don Quixote is wonderful!