The Gate's Spanish Golden Age season begins with this tragicomedy based on a folk-song which tells how a chivalrous caballero ignores warnings and loses his life in an ambush laid by a jealous rival suitor. David Johnston's springy translation slightly favours the comedy over the formal amorous declarations – a bias accentuated by Richard Hope's gleeful performance which, after Don Gil Of The Green Britches, suggests he's cornering the market in irrepressible Iberian squires. But the pathos isn't sold short; it remains a forceful undercurrent from the start. James Clyde's Don Alonso de Olmedo is never a ridiculous figure, simply too idealistic for his times. The saga is performed upon a positive Tardis of a set, and can only add to the Gate's already colossal reputation for producing gems on a criminally sub-Blue Peter budget.
Written for City Limits magazine.
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
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