Don Quijote @ Summerhall

Review by Eric Karoulla | 19 Aug 2013
  • Don Quijote @ Summerhall

Don Quijote is a brave and funny performance that recontextualises and reclaims the importance of Cervantes' book. Although there is obviously a great deal of thought behind it, the way it is performed has a certain DIY quality - as if it was made in someone's backyard. The narrative and its core message are unravelled in a manner reminiscent of how we create and unfurl fantasy worlds as children, where a stick can be a sword, a cap can be a glorious plumed helmet, and a flat piece of cardboard can serve as a breastplate of shining armour. 

Tom Frankland and Keir Cooper, in association with Ultimo Comboio point at different interpretations of Don Quijote and proceed with what the character means to them, taking him to represent anyone who strives for a dream that society rarely approves of, yet they persist - and almost inevitably are beaten down, and maybe even die trying. For example, a man who builds a rocketship in his backyard, but is never given permission to launch. 

There is a very punk undertone to this performance; it sounds bizarre to say it about a theatre piece, but that is what comes to mind. Don Quijote is revived as a punk symbol - not in an angry Riot Grrrl sense, but rather in the sense that he represents a voice being quashed repeatedly by a society rejecting any attempt to alter its culture.

Giving in to Don Quijote's message means going out and doing what you dream of because you probably won't get another chance, because you love it but keep putting it off, because there is nothing else you feel will make the world a better place. Because there is even a madness in sanity, and "it is the maddest of all to see society as it is and not as it should be."

 

Don Quijote @ Summerhall (Former Women's Locker Room), various times, Until August 24, various prices http://festival.summerhall.co.uk/event/don-quijote/