Man of La Mancha

A strong production of this audience favorite, certainly a standard against which other productions can be judged.

The prison that Cervantes/Don Quixote finds himself suggests, somewhat anachronistically, an abandoned industrial facility, full of echoes; high above the relatively shallow playing space, a catwalk looms, from which a vertiginous stairway can be lowered. There is a substantial flywheel sort of thing: it’s useful as a means to subdue Aldonza during “The Abduction,” and it works well to suggest the windmill at which Don Quixote must tilt, but it otherwise seems to come from another time. A solid door in the floor always closes with an ominous bang.

Anthony Warlow does a fine job as the eponymous Knight of the Woeful Countenance. His reading of the play’s signature song, “The Impossible Dream,” builds from a quiet, half-spoken verse to a powerful climax. As Sancho Panza, Nehal Joshi is doe-eyed and slightly crazed, a character from a Disney cartoon who has tumbled into the direst of straits. Nice bit with the bench for “I Really Like Him.” The ensemble of muleteers provides much of the percussion that drives the Spanish-inflected score.

Sight lines and sound lines are often not the same. Listening from our row E seats, the amplified sound was occasionally murky, and sometimes those industrial echoes worked against telling the story.

  • Man of La Mancha, written by Dale Wasserman, music by Mitch Leigh, lyrics by Joe Darion, directed by Alan Paul, Shakespeare Theatre Company Sidney Harman Hall, Washington