Creation Theatre’s Don Quixote is a gem. It showcases what Creation Theatre does best – honours classics texts with a contemporary, respectful and sometimes challenging interpretation.
Adapted by Jonathan Holloway from Cervantes’ famous novel, the story is about an ageing gentleman and his servant. The eponymous Don Quixote longs so desperately for the old values of the chivalric code that he becomes delusional. When the novel was first published in the early 1600s, it was considered a comedy; with readers laughing at Quixote’s delusional escapades. Reactions to the story have changed over time. Now, the work is often seen as a tragedy; a misdirected longing for the values of honour, service, loyalty, integrity and courage in a world seemingly hostile to those values.
Creation Theatre’s adaptation explores these themes beautifully through two characters, Dom and Sam, who are preparing for a caravan road trip on the A40. Dom’s steadfast admiration for Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels leads to Dom’s wanting to reinstate the old-fashioned values espoused by 007. While Sam points out that much of 007’s ‘chivalric code’ is outdated and downright offensive, he humours Dom in his delusions. Eric MacLennan, playing Dom, and Graeme Rose, as Sam, do a wonderful job bringing to life the indignity of ageing, the inevitability of death and the longing for things past in a way that is at once heart breaking, uncomfortable and hilarious.
Creation Theatre’s decision to set its production in Oxford’s historic Covered Market is inspired. The Covered Market itself becomes a metaphor for Don Quixote; an ageing noble with its glory days behind it, much in need of sympathetic and intensive care.
This story has been adapted to the theatre sensitively and with humour. However, these themes espoused by two ageing white men is a widely known and widely explored trope. I did wonder how these themes may have been developed by having two ageing women of colour in the leading roles….
This production will challenge you, make you think, make you laugh and may even make you cry. Go and see it.
Housekeeping: There is good accessibility for those with mobility difficulties. If you do have mobility difficulties make sure you book your tickets over the phone, clearly letting the box office know – this will ensure that you get a front row seat or wheelchair space. This production is not suitable for those sensitive to loud noises or flashing lights. Creation Theatre notes that the venue can get quite cold at night. We brought very warm jackets, despite the hot day, and needed them. You will be able to buy a drink at the Covered Market’s Teardrop Bar during the 15 min interval.
Declaration of Interest: I am a fully paid up “friend” of Creation Theatre (or an “Extra” in Creation Theatre vernacular). I have tried to ensure that this hasn’t influenced by review.
Picture Credit: Richard Budd
- By Miguel de Cervantes
- Adapted and Directed by Jonathan Holloway
- Cast: Eric MacLennan and Graeme Rose
- The Covered Market, Oxford
- Until 28 September
- Time: 7.30pm. Running time: 1 hour 50 minutes with 15 minutes interval.