Lights! Donkey! Action!

Babolin Theatre
Paradise in Augustines

Lights! Donkey! Action!

This year’s cohort of the always excellent Babolin Theatre tackle the literary behemoth of Cervantes’ Don Quixote. However, in classic Babolin style, this is not a conventional presentation of the epic novel that has proven impossible to create for such geniuses as Orson Welles and Terry Gilliam. Instead, it is a masterclass in contemporary ensemble performance.

Like that of the eponymous character, taking on such a task as a play with a group of A Level graduates is a big idea, which requires commitment and a vivid imagination. Fortunately for Fringe audiences, Babolin delivers in spades—and buckets.

Here we are presented with movie director Federico Fettuccini and his assistant Sandy Pecorino who set out to do what other auteurs have failed to do: to make a film of the four-hundred-year-old classic. But, like the protagonist of the original, his plans are quickly scuppered. What follows are the parallel stories of two people of singular vision, ably assisted by their squires and a cast of enthusiastic performers, in delivering simultaneous Quixotes!

The ensemble work is exceptional with song, puppetry and a litany of theatre styles to capture the narrative and the madness of the original, while drawing on more contemporary settings and practices. The cast remain utterly invested in the minutiae of every moment, performing with a joyful exuberance, that is infectious.

What is so wonderful about this production is its apparently endless invention, recycling humble props to create grand vistas, battles, inns and other such legendary exploits. All shared by an extraordinary cast of gifted and generous performers.

They are only in Edinburgh until Saturday 12 August—be sure not to miss out!

Reviewer: Tony Trigwell-Jones

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