Theatre review: Don Quijote
Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review: Don Quijote at Summerhall (Venue 26), reviewed by Matt Trueman
A buzzsaw rips through the spine of Miguel de Cervantes’ epic novel and Tom Frankland shares out the pages so that each of us holds a little bit of Don Quijote. That, says Frankland, is the way it should be.
The world needs Don Quijotes – overblown idealists, headstrong romanticists, impossible dreamers – now more than ever.
Don’t expect a polite retelling of Cervantes’ tale here. In fact, don’t expect a retelling at all. Aided and abetted by his brother Keir Cooper and Anton Coimbra, Frankland spins out a piece of punk, DIY literary criticism that’s aiming for a real-world impact.
It’s a scruffy, scrapbook piece of theatre, happy to hop between shadow-puppetry, storytelling and vaudeville, but it’s also an uneven one and, no matter how quixotic that makes its spirit, it’s not always satisfying.
That said, there’s some great thinking as theatre here: the guest performer who enlists an audience member for an audience; the fake testimony which echoes the book’s own blurring of fact and fiction; and, most of all, the absolute willingness to practise its own preaching. You exit ready to take on the world and lose.
But that’s exactly what leaves a nagging doubt: if we celebrate those foolhardy attempts that are doomed to failure, don’t we somehow accept things as they are? It’s easy to champion life’s Quijotes, but that in itself won’t change the world.
Until 24 August. Today 7:30pm
More info: Don Quijote is at Summerhall
Originally published in The Scotsman