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The RSC’s Don Quixote transfers to the West End

David Threlfall in Don Quixote from the original 2016 production at the Swan Theatre. Photo by Helen Maybanks © RSC.

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE ROYAL Shakespeare Company’s Don Quixote, which originally premiered at the RSC’s Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in spring 2016, is transferring to the Garrick Theatre, where it will run from October 27, 2018 to February 2, 2019.

The award-winning poet, journalist and literary critic James Fenton has adapted Miguel de Cervantes’ iconic novel which tells the famous, farcical story of a self-fashioned travelling knight accompanied by his faithful squire.

A labyrinthine world of rogues, merchants, shepherds, galley-slaves and windmills combine to confront the pair with a world of rampant, absurd adventures in what is described as a brilliantly energised adaptation of the comic epic.

RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran said: “We are delighted that Angus Jackson’s joyful production of Don Quixote is going to be shared with West End audiences this autumn, following my production of Imperium playing at the Gielgud Theatre and our regular winter season of Shakespeare plays at the Barbican.

“Don Quixote’s journey with his faithful sidekick is one of the world’s most famous stories, and James Fenton’s glorious adaptation brings Cervantes’ novel wonderfully to life.

“First staged in Stratford-upon-Avon to mark the 400th anniversary of Cervantes’ death, David Threlfall will reprise his mesmerising performance in the title role, with Rufus Hound once again playing his long-suffering companion Sancho Panza.

“London audiences will get the chance to see them recreate their chemistry on stage and I encourage everyone to discover this hilarious, profound and lyrical adaptation of a classic tale.”

Co-producer and theatre owner Nica Burns said: “Having seen this glorious production which premiered at the Swan Theatre in 2016, we are thrilled to be collaborating with the RSC to share this joyous and moving evening with a wider audience at its new home at the Garrick Theatre.”

As already mentioned, Don Quixote will again be played by David Threlfall, best known for his leading role as Frank Gallagher in Channel 4’s Shameless. His other recent TV work includes Tommy Cooper: Not Like That, Like This, Black Sea, Housewife 49, What Remains and most recently he appeared in the BBC/Netflix series Troy: Fall of a City.

His original appearance in the show in Stratford marked a long-awaited return to the RSC for Threlfall, whose last performance there was in his award-winning role of Smike in the iconic adaptation of Nicholas Nickleby in 1980.

David Threlfall and Rufus Hound in Don Quixote from the original 2016 production at the Swan Theatre. Photo by Helen Maybanks © RSC.

And actor and comedian Rufus Hound will return to play Quixote’s squire, Sancho Panza. Hound’s recent work includes the Rose Theatre Kingston’s War of the Roses cycle, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Savoy Theatre), One Man, Two Guvnors (National Theatre/West End), The Wind in the Willows (London Palladium), What the Butler Saw (Curve Leicester), Present Laughter (Chichester) and the upcoming new musical Dusty (UK tour).

After a lifetime of reading books on chivalry, Don Quixote decides to embark on a quest of his own. Taking up a lance and sword, he sets out to become a wandering knight, defending the helpless and vanquishing the wicked. Hopelessly unprepared and increasingly losing his grip on reality, he travels across Spain accompanied by his faithful and equally ill-suited squire, Sancho Panza.

The production is once again directed by RSC Associate Director Angus Jackson who previously worked on the critically acclaimed production Oppenheimer, which transferred to the West End in 2015 after a sell-out run at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. Last year, he was season director of the ROME MMXVII season of Shakespeare plays (RST and Barbican).

Don Quixote is designed by Robert Innes Hopkins, with music composed by Grant Olding, lighting by Mark Henderson and sound by Fergus O’Hare. The fight director is Malcolm Ranson and movement is by Lucy Cullingford.

Images: David Threlfall in Don Quixote from the original 2016 production at the Swan Theatre. Photo by Helen Maybanks © RSC (top); David Threlfall and Rufus Hound in Don Quixote from the original 2016 production at the Swan Theatre. Photo by Helen Maybanks © RSC (bottom).

Tickets (on sale to the general public from 10am on Monday, June 25, 2018): from £10 (prices from £5 for 16-25 year olds only). To book, call 0330 333 4811 or 01789 403493 or visit www.donquixoteplay.com/ or www.rsc.org.uk/whats-on/in/london/.

Times: Monday – Saturday at 7:30pm; Wednesday and Saturday at 2pm. No matinees between Saturday, October 27 and Wednesday, November 7. First matinee will be on Saturday, November 10.

Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein continues at the Garrick Theatre until August 25, 2018.