Don Quixote

Aug 14 2023 | By More

★★★★☆    Knockabout

Assembly George Square Studios (Venue 17): Wed 2 – Tue 15 Aug 2023
Review by Hugh Simpson

Taking as its inspiration the towering 17th century Spanish novel by Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote at Assembly George Square is an impressively funny affair that is both very silly and very clever.

The Red Nose company from Finland performs – as the name suggests – in red-nosed clown make-up, and while there is a large amount of clowning going on, there is also a great deal besides.

Timo Ruuskanen and Tuukka Vasama in Don Quixote. Pic: Cata Portin

There is much more speaking (almost all in English) than you might expect, with the text of the ‘first European novel’, as it is often hailed, a jumping-off point for ruminations on the roots of European culture, imagination and insanity. There is also politics, music, scatological humour, and people hitting each other.

The performers – Timo Ruuskanen and Tuukka Vasama as clowns Mike and Zin – have a tremendous rapport with their audience, and a combination of knowing intelligence and childlike openness that works beautifully. Ruuskanen’s Mike has the lofty ideals and crazed earnestness of Quixote, while Vasama’s Zin is an approachable Sancho Panza, inviting the audience’s sympathy for venue policies or Edinburgh Airbnb prices. With director Otso Kautto, they have fashioned a coherent and pleasing spectacle.

Most of the sprawling original has been jettisoned, of course – and there is a definite suspicion that some of the show has been cut too, with some odd transitions and hurried moments. It remains impressive, however, with Jere Kolehmainen’s sound and lighting working in harmony with the performers.

adult moments

If it sounds like it might be a children’s show, there are some adult moments, notably some (utterly bizarre) nudity. This is not the only unexpected turn in a production which features the first time I have ever genuinely seen the audience pelting a performer with tomatoes.

That people find clowns irritating or even scary has become boring, and it cannot just be the fault of Stephen King. However, if you think you hate red noses, this might just be the show to cure you.

Running time: One hour (no interval)
Assembly George Square Studios – Studio 2, George Sq, EH8 9LH (Venue 17)
Wednesday 2 – Tuesday 15 August 2023
Daily at 4.05 pm
Tickets and details Book here

Red Nose company Links
Artist website:
Facebook: @redn˜osefi
Instagram: @rednosefi


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.