(Mark Cook’s & Lyn Gardner’s article appeared in the Guardian, 4/8.)
Don Quijote, Manchester
Part of HOME’s ongoing Spanish and Latin American festival – which also includes the world premiere of All In (Thu to 16 Apr), the latest show from Barcelona-based company Atresbandes – this delightful adaptation of Cervantes’ novel should appeal to the dreamer in all of us. Created by Emma Frankland and Keir Cooper, it takes a chainsaw to the original and suggests that we can all put on our armour and attempt to change the world, and that even if we fail there is something worthwhile in that. The show has a strong, delightfully ramshackle DIY aesthetic, gleefully playing on the idea of deception and the way that theatre itself is a lie that can expose significant truths.
Show Boat, London
From Cats to War Horse, the New London Theatre seems to have the knack of hanging on to long-running shows. But while the Crucible Theatre’s production of Show Boat steams in trailing five-star reviews, it will be docking for eight months only. The groundbreaking Mississippi-set musical by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein tackles issues such as racism, alcoholism and women’s rights, and includes such classic showtunes as Ol’ Man River and Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man. It’s the final major production for actor-turned-director Daniel Evans, who is set to take over the prestigious Chichester Festival Theatre in July.