Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Helen Rawlings reviews 'Don Quixote' at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon Avon

English Literature undergraduate Helen Rawlings, a seasoned theatre critic, reports on a special RSC production at Stratford -upon Avon.

Having never been to the Swan Theatre and not knowing anything about Don Quixote I wasn’t sure what to expect. Little did I know I would be in for such a treat. The comic tale adapted by James Fenton and based on Miguel De Cervantes classic novel,  was a visual masterpiece. So, we meet Don Quixote (David Threllfall) who has spent his life reading about brave knights, damsels in distress and their exciting adventures. He decides that simply reading these stories is no longer enough for him, he must set off into the world and experience being a Knight first hand. What follows is nothing short of comic genius as Sancho Panza (Rufus Hound) joins Don Quixote on his challenges. From stealing Barbers basins to fighting windmills and beating up priests, Don Quixote bumbles his way through his quest to be a gallant knight and win the hand of his ‘imaginary’ lady Dulcinea del Toboso. 
The leads were majestically performed by Threllfall and Hound, both demonstrating impressive acting ability. Not to mention the supporting cast who were all a hardworking and talented bunch. Special mention has to be for the impressive puppetry, the horses, sheep and the lion all added to the magic of the play. The set was simple but was used to full effect, the simplicity capturing the essence of this medieval play. The theatre itself was beautiful and intimate, this intimacy helped the audience feel very involved and at times certain members of the audience were really part of the action. Arguably, the finest play I have ever seen. It is playing in Stratford-Upon-Avon until May 21st so catch it whilst you can. One not to be missed. Simply marvellous.

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