Tell Tale Hearts, Donkey Haughty

Review in Issue 14-4 | Winter 2002

Don Quixote this isn’t but it is a magical realist comedy of transformation and ambition, surreal and funny. It has many parts, from slapstick to pastiche to puppetry. Directed by Javier Marzan of Peepolykus, it maybe leaned a little on Consuelo Garcia as a female Manuel (from Fawlty Towers) as much as the potentially long-lost descendant of Don Quixote’s companion’s neighbour’s brother’s sister.

In trademark Peepolykus style, there were lots of translation jokes. (‘In my village, they say…’ followed by an almost Spanish phrase, followed by the Engleesh rendition: ‘Ina mya countree, they say it isa noah use a feeding ze dead donkey.’ She adds that you should of course feed it before, and then it wouldn’t be dead.) But the central conceit, of lost librarian Wendy Williams’ search for the real Don Quixote and his story, let loose all sorts of parody and humour, some of it cerebral, some of it slapstick and some of it plain surreal, like the flapping sail of words from a page that alternately becomes a butterfly they pursue or a vast sheet in which they are trapped.

They moved in and out of puppets of themselves walking the high library shelves in distant perspective, and a close-up comedy of gesture and expression. Sometimes I felt that the retelling was a little episodic and disconnected, but at other times their presence and skill in these episodes stimulated thought and laughter in equal measure.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 2002

This article in the magazine

Issue 14-4
p. 24 - 25