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Don Quixote

Words: Aria Tsvetanova

Finland’s Red Nose Company brings Cervantes’ classic novel Don Quixote to the Fringe with a clown twist. The show attempts to bring relevance to the 17th century text by drawing parallels between Don Quixote’s journey through La Mancha and Finnish (as well as global) politics and social injustices: global warming, the church, growing old, racism and the growing prevalence of right-wing politics, no topic is left untouched. The show also highlights the similarities between the journey of the errant knight and the Company’s own journey to Edinburgh. Meta Fringe jokes abound! 

Audiences expecting high theatre based on classic literature will be sorely disappointed. Red Nose Company sticks close to Cervantes’ original text, preserving all of its bawdy irreverent humour and its scatological jokes (nudity included). The show sticks perhaps too close to the text, adopting some of its meandering structure as well. This occasionally leads to jarring moments: bawdy jokes are followed by profound observations and political readings of the text. The high and low arts are not so much mingled, as in constant opposition.

The show does not get the hang of this discrepancy until its showstopping mask theatre interlude complete with mist and choral music. This interlude is a stark departure from the tone hitherto and is a moving and engrossing end to the show that leaves you wanting more. 

Red Nose Company’s Don Quixote trips up in being too accurate an adaptation, but it nevertheless successfully proves that Cervantes’ text is as relevant as ever.

Don Quixote
Assembly George Square Studios, Studio Two
4-15 Aug (not 9)


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