Tom Frankland and Keir Cooper have taken a DIY approach to Cervantes: strapping the Spaniard’s literary masterpiece ‘Don Quijote’ to a Black & Decker Workmate and going at it with power tools. The result is a whirlwind of joyous disintegration that sees the novel emerge resplendent from its own destruction.
Fragments of the eponymous ersatz knight’s picaresque wanderings are projected as shadows on the wall and we help assemble cardboard armour for a ‘special guest’ Quijote (performer and critic Hannah Nicklin on press night). One of us even gets to go on our own private adventure. The form is fuzzily punk and totally approachable: as with Cervantes’s novel, Frankland and Cooper balance weightier themes of authenticity and textual authority with warm, absurd humour. The focal point to this giddy dance is a celebration of the brilliance of futile endeavour, of the political implications of the outsider artist, protester or scientist.
It’s a life-affirming message of hope through disruption and determination, and if that’s not the best way to start a new year then I just don’t know what is.