Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Queensland Ballet: A Rose Coloured World

Don Quixote with Blair Wood (top) as The Don and Keian Langdon as Sancho. Photo Ken Sparrow

 Don Quixote. Choreographed by Francois Klaus. Queensland Ballet. Playhouse House Theatre. Continues till June 2 Don Quixote (Blair Wood), Sancho (Keian Langdon/Gareth Belling). Dulcinea (Lisa Stewart).

It’s time to go a tad highbrow with the Australia Opera staging, The Magic Flute, and the Queensland Ballet presenting a new production of the perennial favourite, Don Quixote.

Let’s start with the Don, as it only runs till Saturday (June 2), and I have been away in Sydney checking out friend Frank Guantlett’s new play, Deeming,  teaming 19th century serial killer, Frederick Deeming, and actor- manager- cum- playwright Alfred Dampier.

More on Deeming later.

The Don. QB’s artistic director Francois Klaus is having a whip cracker of a final year in the role of AD, first with a thoroughly entertaining outing of Lewis Carroll’s children’s classic, Alice in Wonderland, and now Cervantes’ Renaissance classic.

The production – which features music from a potpourri of composers including Minkus (Excerpts from Don Quixote) and Dvorak’s final movement from the New World Symphony and Cello Concerto in B - brings the Don wham-bang into the 21st century.

In this telling, a dancer (Blair Wood) is playing the Don in a movie when he becomes so obsessed with the character, the errant knight begins to have a detrimental effect on his work and life.

Klaus has created an enchanting narrative, about the eternal importance of dreaming, as the story shifts in time between the Renaissance world of the Don and his servant Sancho, and the challenges facing the young dancer in his contemporary waking life.

This results is a clean and sharp narrative, which has an added bonus of some wonderful male dancing as well as the delicate contribution of Lisa Edwards as Dulcinea.

The show is packed with rustic charm as the Don and Sancho create their own distinctive dance style, humour  and a powerful central message about the importance of dreams.

The humour and rustic charm are particularly evident in The Don’s attack on the poor monks and a further encounter with bunch of innocent sheep. This all demonstrate that’s the Don’s mind is well and truly addled.

The world should always accommodate the true eccentric, although, of course, individuals have responsibilities to their fellow men and women and, must live with accountability.

Take a note.

In the meantime, I have picked out a review of the Don that I particularly like to share in the link below.

This time I have opted for Denise Richardson’s review in Dance Australia, which admittedly contradicts some of the observations spelled out in my opening pars.

Francois Klaus and the Queensland Ballet’s passion for working with creative storytelling in its main house productions has always created challenges, and sometimes major problems.

I had problems with the QB’s storytelling in Fonteyn Remembered – combining actors and dancers in a tribute to Dame Margot back in 2010 – but others loved it.

Such is life and cultural democracy.

I personally think The Don is one of the better ones, but I am (as always) open to alternative critiques and I enjoy reading commentary which takes an alternative view.

This Dance Australian review  is a stimulating and informative one, well worth a view, and I particularly like the use of the photos.


Francois Klaus

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