The Vaults, London
Guest reviewer: Lauren Gauge
At it’s best The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha is one of the most ridiculously fun, liberating examples of interactive, ensemble storytelling. Though the narrative is intrinsic and the episodic adventures of Don Quixote are told with great clarity and comedy, the novel the production is based on is not the main attraction, nor is it important that one knows the original material.
Using a classic actor-musician set-up that breaks the fourth wall to establish the form is familiar, and the blend of live acoustic music from guitarist and occasional Foley artist Maria Camahort is enchanting.
Little Soldier’s ideas provide an intelligent, inventive and often hilarious retelling of Cervantes. They employ well-crafted physical imagery and collective warmth, led by co-artistic directors Merce Ribot and Patricia Rodriguez. The playful nature of the multi-rolling is satisfying, and whether you know and love the narrative, or simply enjoy experimental ensemble based storytelling, you’ll likely take much pleasure from this production.
However, if tongue-in-cheek silliness isn’t your bag, you may be left underwhelmed by the slapstick nature of some of the less successful gags. Nonetheless, the warmth and unpretentious entertainment is undeniable and audiences are in for a treat.