Don Quixote Review

Don Quixote, originally choreographed by Marius Petipa to the music of Ludwig Minkus, makes a much-anticipated return to the South African stage.

Telling Miguel de Cervantes’ classic tale of misplaced chivalry and desperate desire to see things as they should be, this Barcelona-set ballet will be wowing audiences for just one more week at the Joburg Theatre.

The ballet has a happy ending, and is filled with pockets of brilliant comedy. As the superbly talented dancers take to the stage, one is reminded that everyone should support the local arts scene more – productions like this are brilliant and yet seen by criminally few across the city and South Africa as a whole. Performances like this can hold a number of roles: a ballet to inspire young, aspiring dancers; a fun night out in the vibey city of Johannesburg; and a unique experience to watch the energetic and passionate dancers of the Joburg Ballet bring yet another classic piece vividly to life.

Ruan Galdino (L) as Basilio and Shannon Glover (R) as Kitri
PHOTO: Lauge Sorensen

So many people deserve a massive round of applause for the integral parts they have played in this fantastically slick production: all at the Joburg Ballet, and the Joburg Theatre, for putting on this beloved piece with such richly deserved detail and effort; Andrew Botha for his vibrant backdrops and props; Simon King’s gorgeous lighting (in particular, the lighting of the opening scene of Act II set the mood in an achingly beautiful way); and the magnificent live music of the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Eddie Clayton, to name just a few of the elements of the show.

We were treated to an exquisite performance on Friday night by every dancer on stage, though we thought we would mention a few personal highlights that stood out even in this production. Firstly, the opening scene, and then all later appearances of Nigel Hannah (Don Quixote) and Albertus Dreyer (Sancho Panza) had the audience smiling and laughing; then, Shannon Glover (Kitri) and Ruan Galdino (Basilio) proved their talent with wonderful gravitas, incredible grand fouettes and strong partnering work. Keke Chele (Gamache) had the most unforgettable and belly laugh-generating stage presence – what a character! Tumelo Lekana (Creado) was a joy to watch, and we couldn’t take our eyes off him as he executed flawless jumps across the stage, and finally, the beautiful classical lines of Nicole Ferreira-Dill in Act II.

Shannon Glover and Ruan Galdino (Act III)
PHOTO: Lauge Sorensen

Although we watched Shannon Glover and Ruan Galdino as the principals, Kitri and Basilio, on other nights you could also see these roles played by Monike Cristina and Ivan Domiciano, Shana Dewey and Mario Giglione, or Claudia Monja and Gabriel Fernandes – and based on their superb performances on Friday, you are most certainly in for a spectacle!

Unfortunately, Sunday brought news that the current COVID-19 pandemic has prevented international dancers Marianela Nunez and Vadim Muntagirov from joining the company for two performances in the run. Although we are disappointed not to have the opportunity to watch these globally-renowned stars in the flesh, we have first-hand proof that the talent, ability, and class of the dancers of the Joburg Ballet means that their presence will not be missed.

Book yourself a ticket today and support South African art and artists – this show should not be missed!

Don Quixote is on at the Joburg Theatre from March 13-22. Tickets are available from the box office and Webtickets.

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