Don Quixote, Holt

John Harrison's Open Stage Company brings his story brilliantly to life in a story in two parts.

Don Quixote tilting at windmills is a familiar image but what else do we remember of that strange 17th century Spanish figure?

John Harrison's Open Stage Company brings his story brilliantly to life in a story in two parts at the Gresham's School Auden Theatre.

The first is the well-known one of Quixote and his faithful servant Sancho Panza journeying through Spain. All the contrasts between the idealistic old knight (Alastair Boag) and his young servant (Michael Lesslie) were brought out by two splendid and detailed performances.

In the second part of the story the mood darkened as tricks were played on the gullible but noble knight. The final trick was that played on the audience when we realised how sorry we were when Don Quixote finally lost all his illusions. Boag gave a heart-rending account of Don Quixote in his last moments when he loses the dreams that made sense of his life.

The production gave full weight to the magic of the story-telling, using the simplest props, like ladders, to great effect.

Lighting designer Freya Burroughs subtly underlined the changes in mood. The specially composed music (Jane Wells) was wonderfully evocative and beautifully played by the composer and by Brian Eade.

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This is a splendid story full of incidents of laughter and sadness. John Harrison's production is original and innovative: it must be seen.

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