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DetailsDon Quixote Rides Again
takes us on an amazing journey to Spain 400 years ago: the birth of a nation and the founding of the Spanish Inquisition. But the age of chivalry is not quite dead, as wannabe knight Don Quixote and his faithful sidekick Sancho Panza ride hell for leather across The REP stage, in search of wrongs to right and windmills to tilt at. The Don may not be quite the full peseta, and Sancho seems a few prawns short of a paella... Don Quixote Rides Again promises an evening of mayhem, filled with dancing vultures, mad monks, beer-swilling pirates and a holy war to end all holy wars.Performers Matthew Kelly, George Costigan, David Fielder.
Producer Birmingham Rep. Producer The Shysters. Director Chris Bond. Design Ellen Cairns. Lighting Jim Simmons. Choreographer Emily Gardner.
USER (30Jun05): Don Quixote Rides Again...
Birmingham Rep, 27 June 2005 (Preview)
Starring Matthew Kelly, George Costigan and David Fielder
Written by Chris Bond based on the characters created by Miguel de Cervantes
Music composed by Jo Collins
Management: Birmingham Rep in association with The Shysters
Director: Chris Bond with Richard Hayhow
Design: Ellen Cairns
Lighting: Jim Simmons
Choreography: Emily Gardner
In spite of being very well received by a capacity audience this new musical turned out to be something of a “curates egg” with dialogue that was at times difficult to follow and a somewhat plodding plot.
In its 400th anniversary year Cervantes book about the inquisition and the quest for enlightenment is as relevant today as in 1600s and takes on an even more poignant note with the recent election of Pope Benedict XVI.
Of the 2 main characters George Costigan as Sancho Panza had the better-written part allowing greater characterization and the injection of some much needed comedy. Matthew Kelly as Don Quixote had plenty of dialogue but it was all such a much ness and the character of Don Quixote never quite came through and I felt it lacked the cohesion of Sancho Panza. Added to this there was a general lack of clarity in the sound overall, which made it difficult to catch the dialogue or words of songs. For example the song “Live Hard Die Young” a moving musical number in Act 1, I could only work out by checking the details in the programme.
This is also a great opportunity for members of The Shysters Theatre Company, which is an ensemble of actors with learning disabilities to work with The Rep, and their enthusiasm is to be applauded.
The religious backdrop against which the story is told introduced a dirge like quality that added to the plodding plot made it seem like rather a long evening. However, there were good things and the cast worked well in all of the ensemble musical numbers and the band produced a charming Spanish feel, which made the dance number bright, and these lifted the show effectively. The sets were cleverly designed and the costumes eye catching. The vultures in Act 1 were really quite amazing and had a frightening carrion appearance! There were also some strong individual performances from other cast members. But at the end of the evening it just had not “hit the mark” and I felt that all of the energy that had been put in by the cast had not told a story that was easy to follow.
Running time 2 hours 25 minutes and is at the Rep until 9 July.
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