Don Quixote - Birmingham Royal Ballet Review

 The story of Don Quixote is one that I can be honest and say I have never heard of. The tale of Don Quixote and his hapless assistant Sancho Panza as they head off on a wild Spanish adventure and meet Kitri and Basilio, young lovers who are forced apart by class and greed. 

The absolutely brilliant Birmingham Royal Ballet took this story and danced. Alongside direction from the utterly brilliant Carlos Acosta, you are immersed in a world of Spanish ballet mixed with beautiful orchestrations and staging that will leave you in awe of its beauty. It is everything you would want and more in a ballet and I felt so fortunate to be invited along to review it at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton.  

Set against the Spanish sunset, you are introduced to a host of characters from the mind of Don Quixote. As they head on their journey through the story, you are introduced to Kitri and Basilio, a young couple that wish to marry, but are forbidden to by her father Lorenzo who wishes her to marry the foolish nobleman Gamache. When Kitri and Basilio run away together, the rest (including Don Quixote) head in pursuit of them to call the whole thing off. What ensues is a three act ballet that takes you to a magical garden, a Spanish tavern, and a spectacular wedding. 

It's a tale that despite it's wild journey and slightly crazed timeline, is one that moves into ballet with such joy and ease that you will be left feeling in awe and captivated at what you are watching on stage. The story moves with such grace and charm that for the two and a half hours you are in the theatre, you are immersed in a world like no other. The blend of Spanish dancing, fans waving, and traditional ballet, leaves you in awe of the actors and when the whole cast is on stage it looks both magical and mystical as they all move as one to create waves of movement. 

The dancers themselves were sublime and truly world class. Momoko Hirata played Kitri opposite Mathias Dingman as Basilio and I honestly can't find a fault in their dancing. They moved with poise, synchronicity, and in a way that you truly believed their story was a true love story. Tom Rogers took to the stage as Don Quixote himself and blew me away with his dancing and physical acting, being able to tell a story like no other on stage. The whole ensemble and supporting cast lit up the stage with their dancing and brought a constant smile to my face. 

Away from the dancing, the staging was something to be marvelled. Tim Hatley's set design was beyond impressive and allowed the dancers the spotlight, whilst supporting the storyline in a visual way that I hadn't seen before in a ballet. I won't give too much away, but both the windmill and the hanging vine scenes are worth the ticket price alone. 

Don Quixote was a celebration of ballet. It was a show that left me grinning from ear to ear and wishing I could nestle on the stage and join in with the celebrations. It was fin, charming and an utter delight to watch. It's a show that is perfect for children that are interested in the ballet, and also for those that just love to watch dance in a way that they have never seen it before. One not to be missed!

Don Quixote is on at the Mayflower until 13th February and then continues on a UK tour. 

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