Based on chapters of Miguel Cervantes’ world-famous novel, the ballet classic Don Quixote brings a lot to the stage. It takes you on a journey through the Spanish countryside with forbidden romance, plot-twists, and gallantry—all of this spiced with some witty humour brought to the play by Don Quixote’s character.
First performed by the West Australian Ballet in 2010, it’s now choreographed by Lucette Aldous, and accompanied by a gorgeous performance from the WA Symphony Orchestra. The dancers’ clapping and guitars amid the beautiful duets showcase the talent of the choreographer and dancers in bringing the ballet and this Spanish story together. Although there is a lack of lifts and jumps, and despite a few hesitant landings, the dancing is strong.
From the moment Christopher Hill enters the stage as Don on his ‘stallion’, pulled by his sidekick Sancho, there is not a single dull moment—and rarely is there so much laughing during a ballet performance. The evening’s stars are Basilio (Oscar Waldes) and Kitri (Florence Leroux-Coleno)—a couple telling their roller-coaster-like love-story.
In the first act, however, Andre Santos momentarily steals the show as the lead Gypsy. His strong solo is full of energy, and the jumps and spins leave the audience longing for more.
The eventful story finishes with the young couple’s happily-ever-after-marriage, while Don Quixote rides off stage on his gallant stallion to his next adventure.
The costumes and décor are aesthetically pleasing, but don’t steal the show from the dancers. In addition to traditional tutus, the dancers are dressed with Spanish influence: swirly flamenco skirts, and, of course, those ever so eye-catching skin-tight pants in matador-fashion. Don wears a knight’s outfit, and forgoes much of the dancing to maintain his somewhat dizzying appearance throughout the two-hour-act.
Even for a not-so-frequent ballet-goer, this production would be extremely enjoyable. It’s not only the dancers that make Don Quixote a pleasing performance—it’s the combination of costumes, sets, lights, and the well-choreographed dance numbers. Despite a stumble or two, Don Quixote still brings together a light-hearted show in which there is not a moment of tediousness.
Don Quixote is running at His Majesty’s Theatre until May 27.