The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha @ Zoo
Little Soldiers educate the general public not so much about the historic context or cultural relevance of Don Quixote of La Mancha but all the more about its hilarity and madness.
An otherwordly musician provides a beautiful soundtrack with her guitar while two Spanish women and an Englishman negotiate how they recount their favourite Don Quixote adventures. Their deliberations, which may turn violent, always show a complete disregard for the fourth wall and at times the audience is egged on to take sides, which can culminate in the throwing of soft items. The performers’ on-stage dynamic sometimes feels awkward and involves the occasional good-natured slap or old finger-up-the-old-orifice, but this uncomfortable edge only serves to make the piece more entertaining.
The two trap doors in the stage are exactly the kind of old fashioned prop Little Soldiers revel in using, preferably in as many different ways as possible. Their display of physical comedy ranges from charmingly traditional to brilliantly innovative. Using two actors as a human horse is an old trick, but Little Soldiers develop it so well that one feels one could see a whole play just about human horses. The piece is nearly all-silly, but has an undertone of the larger themes from Miguel de Cervantes’ novel that keep it in one’s memory after the curtain has fallen. The performers’ good natured acceptance of the audience’s hazy knowledge of the book is only natural since it can never be as good as this whirlwind of a play. [Leonie Walters]