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Edinburgh International Festival: Don Quichotte du Trocadero

Published Friday 30 August 2013 at 11:26 by Thom Dibdin

Jose Montalvo’s take on the Don Quixote story is an exuberant blending of disciplines on all levels. Presentation, music and choreography all bring disparate forms together and, particularly with the choreography, create something altogether more splendid than its constituent parts.

A scene from Don Quichotte du Trocadero

A scene from Don Quichotte du Trocadero Photo: Patrick Berger

The video backdrops sets this in the Paris Metro, where an old man sees visions of his fellow travellers stepping out of the adverts as he sits in the Trocadero station. Chief among these is Patrice Thibaud, big bottomed and corpulent, who takes on the persona of Don Quichotte, stripping to the waist to wobble his stomach at windmills and challenge his Poncho (Simhamed Benhalima) to a dance-off duel.

Thibaud might be large and soft, to the lean muscled Benhalima, and has fewer moves, but he is equally sure of them and delivers them with exactly the same precision.

And it is in the precision throughout that gives the production its edge, and makes the blending of body-popping, street hip-hop and flamenco styles with classical ballet work. No hotchpotch here, but Sandra Mercky’s stiffly formal ballet moves are extended to give them the same dynamic and elan as Benhalima’s twists and tricky foot moves.

There is an over-reliance on the video, which feels stuck in the Metro at times when the farce, burlesque and commedia dell’arte still have plenty of storytelling in them. But once the variations in the final scenes are achieved, it really takes off as Montalvo finds a commonality of movement and blends it into a glorious whole.

Production information

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, August 29-31

Leon Minkus (arranged by Sayem)
Jose Montalvo
Theatre National de Chaillot
Cast includes:
Patrice Thibaud, Simhamed Benhalima, Sandra Mercky, Natacha Balet, Sharon Sultan
Running time:
1hr 30mins

Production information displayed was believed correct at time of review. Information may change over the run of the show.

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Run sheet

King's Head, Islington London
January 24-February 15 2014