Don Quixote

4
Birmingham Royal Ballet dance Carlos Acosta's Don Quixote, seen at the Theatre Royal Plymouth.
By Robert Iles

Don Quixote - photo by Johan Persson

Carlos Acosta has produced a version of Don Quixote specifically for the BRB and it is quite a visual spectacular - as the ballet has has performed most and one close to his heart he wanted to bring it into the BRB repertoire in a new production. WIth a beautifully designed set, 300 costumes, 60 dancers (making the stage look a bit small at times!), a clever projection and a full orchestra this is a real feast for the eyes.

Needless to say, Minkus' ballet does not attempt to take on the whole 700 page classic instead concentrating on the episode covering the lovers Basilio and Kitri. The main parts are seen as real showcases for the dancers with plenty of opportunity for showing off their techniques and skill. Carlos' version is full of fireworks, and some of his trademark comedy which is good as the plot of the ballet is slim at best. We do get to see the "tilting at windmills" episode which leads into the beautiful "The Garden of the Dryads" scene which is, perhaps, more traditional in its form and shows the discipline of the BRB corps - lovely, disciplined work that raised the hairs on the back of my neck. 

I'm not sure that this is my favourite ballet from a "whole show" perspective - it seemed more a thin plot to showcase some superb dancing - but then, the dancing was genuinely of the highest quality so I'm certainly not complaining! 

On a side note. The pre-set on the stage showed the colours of the Ukranian flag and before the show the orchestra played the Ukranian national anthem. The audience spontaneously stood and applauded at the end. A small but incredibly moving gesture from the Company.


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