After a lifetime of reading books on chivalry, one eccentric old man heads off on a rumbustious quest to become a wandering knight accompanied by his faithful and equally ill-suited servant, ‘riotously performed by David Threlfall as Don Quixote and Rufus Hound as Sancho Panza’ (The Times). Taking up a lance and sword, Don Quixote sets out on a hilarious journey across medieval Spain, defending the helpless and vanquishing the wicked. Hopelessly unprepared and increasingly losing his grip on reality, with each calamitous adventure the two hapless heroes experience, the romantic ideal of Quixote’s books seems further away than ever. Following its sell-out run at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2016 to mark the 400th anniversary of Cervantes’ death, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s ‘joyous’ (Guardian) production of this legendary comic novel is told by a company of 20 actors accompanied by a band of live musicians.
The Garrick Theatre was designed by Walter Emden, together with C J Phipps as a consultant to help with the planning on this site which included an underground river.
The theatre was built for W S Gilbert, who was responsible for the book and lyrics of all Savoy Operas with Sir Arthur Sullivan, opening on 24th April, 1889 and named after David Garrick, an 18th Century actor, and still to this day retaining its Victorian aspects. In 1889 Sir John Hare produced and starred in The Profligate with Johnston Forbes Robertson and Lewis Waller.
The theatre had 800 seats on four levels, when first built, but since then the gallery has been closed and the seating capacity reduced to 656. Also, the gold leaf auditorium was restored in 1986 by the designer Carl Toms and in 1997 the front facade also had a facelift.
In recent years, the theatre has largely been associated with comedies or comedy-dramas.
Recent productions include a No Sex Please We’re British, which transferred to the Duchess Theatre in August 1986. Notably, since then, on 24th October 1995 the Royal National Theatre’s multi-award winning production of J B Priestley’s An Inspector Calls opened at the theatre, having played successful seasons at the RNT’s Lyttelton and Olivier theatres as well as the Aldwych theatre, as well as a season on Broadway.
2 Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0HH
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