Don Quixote

James Fenton

Cervantes’ comic novel is widely regarded as one of the foundation stones of modern fiction. It is newly adapted for the stage by James Fenton to mark the 400th anniversary of Cervantes’ death.

Date Published
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After a lifetime of reading books on chivalry, Don Quixote decides to embark on a quest of his own. Taking up a lance and sword, he sets out to become a wandering knight, defending the helpless and vanquishing the wicked.

Hopelessly unprepared and increasingly losing his grip on reality, he travels across Spain accompanied by his faithful and equally ill-suited squire, each calamitous adventure widening the gap between reality and the romantic ideal of Quixote’s books.

Cervantes’ comic novel is widely regarded as one of the foundation stones of modern fiction. James Fenton’s stage adaptation of Don Quixote marks the 400th anniversary of Cervantes’ death. It premiered at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, with the Royal Shakespeare Company in March 2016.

This playtext contains song lyrics by James Fenton. The music was composed by Grant Olding.

Critic Reviews

James Fenton has done a heroic job in compressing a vast narrative into...a lovely, music-filled production...A joyous piece of popular theatre.

Critic Reviews

Adapter James Fenton has the literary awareness to catch both the comedy and...the poignancy of Cervantes's tale...profound, joyous.

Financial Times
Critic Reviews

Warm and revivifying as Spanish sunshine...sweet, glowing with life, love and laughter.

The Times
Critic Reviews

This entertaining hoot of a version...feels as if it has riotously tumbled out of the pages of the book.

Mail on Sunday
Critic Reviews

Cervantes' jaunty, influentially comic novel will endure, and this entertaining, anniversary production might well win him new readers.


James Fenton was born in Lincoln in 1949 and educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he won the Newdigate Prize for poetry. He has worked as political journalist, drama critic, book reviewer, war correspondent, foreign correspondent and columnist. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was Oxford Professor of Poetry for the period 1994-99. His poetry…

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