Don Quixote is one of Cape Town City Ballet’s finest productions since their Spring and Fall season in 2014. Directed by Liane Lurie, it maintains most of the classic’s iconic repertoire and lovable characters, with the colourful costumes and sets all capturing the audience’s intrigue from curtain up.
Together with the prologue’s introduction to the quirky Don Quixote, played by Johnny Bovang, the brilliant Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra creates an atmosphere of expectation that bursts into the energetic opening act. And alongside many entertaining characters, we meet our leads, Kitri and Basilio, danced by Laura Bosenberg and Thomas Thorne. What a fantastic role for Thorne’s final season with the company – showcasing the technical precision and grace he has always excelled at in the classic repertoire. But more than this, the playful, fun relationship between Kitri and Basilio is the perfect celebration of almost a decade of partnership between Bosenberg and Thorne who, once again, make it look so easy. From their joking, teasing interactions to the famous grand pas de deux, they are a joy to watch.
Other highlights include Hannah Ward and Leane Theunissen in the role of Kitri’s friends. They dance beautifully together, never once faltering in the technical or musical aspect of their performance. Craig Pedro’s spirited energy is also well suited to the role of Eros, and his soundless jumps demonstrate his great control, and compliment the cupid-like character. I couldn’t help but be excited any time Mervyn Williams as the foppish Gamache came on stage. His earnest dedication to the eccentricity of the character is genius – at one point, he innocently seeks to win Kitri’s affection with a rose while she is very much entranced in a duet with Basilio.
These are but a few of the stand out moments, but the entire company performs at the highest level throughout. Their vitality and zeal drives the spirit of the show while their clarity of movement and timing display the choreography to its fullest. The men who danced as the Toreadors are particularly clean and precise, and when the entire cast comes together for the end of acts one and three, the synchronicity is really something to behold.
The highlight of a very exciting season from Cape Town City Ballet, Don Quixote is not to be missed. From the stunning sets, rousing live music and impeccable performances, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Truly, Cape Town City Ballet have raised the barre.
Cape Town City Ballet’s Don Quixote is on at the Artscape Opera House until 29 October 2017.