Man of La Mancha

(Brisbane Arts Theatre)


The famous musical inspired by Cervantes returns to the Brisbane stage under director Lynne Wright in the Brisbane Arts Theatre.

Man of La Mancha retells the story of the country gentleman gone quirky knight-errant from Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote. The production utilises a cast of talented Brisbane-based actors, giving a high-quality theatrical and musical performance with the use of only minimal props and stage.

From the birth of the eccentric Don to his tragically broken death, we are treated to an hilarious musical rendition of his misadventures. While much of the scene is left to the watchers imagination, the demeanour, costumes, and story itself are delivered very well and make Man of La Mancha a satisfying experience.

Recorded musical numbers, assembled by Brisbane theatre musician Gary Menzel, provide instrumental backing of the classic songs Man of La Mancha, Dulcinea, and Golden Helmet of Mambrino, with well-sung and often hilarious renditions from the vocalists on stage. The raw emotion in the music and vocals do most of the imagining for the audience.

British actor Richard Murphys portrayal of Don Quixote as well as his creator, playwright Miguel de Cervantes, switches between scenes and carries the characters actions and emotions perfectly, enthralling the audience. Other players also give excellent portrayals, including Cathy Collings as Aldonza, Gavin Drogemuller as the Governor and Innkeeper, and Emily Landridge as Quixotes niece Antonia.

The production is effective and powerful, despite shortcomings in stage size and facilities. The cast obviously enjoy giving their audience a memorable evening.

— Jim Aspinall
(Performance seen: Thu 23rd July 2009)