I read Don Quixote in my teens, and it's one of my touchstone books. I first found out about the musical from the episode of Quantum Leap in which Sam has to save an elderly actor from falling to his death on stage, and was so wildly excited by the whole thing that I bought the Broadway soundtrack on cassette.
I met Sarah and our friend Bec for a pre-show Wagamama before we took our seats. Monday not being a popular night for the theatre, we found we'd been upgraded from the Upper Circle to row H of the stalls. The London Coliseum is everything a theatre should be - red velvet seats, ornate ceilings, private boxes - and we enjoyed gazing around before the curtain went up.
The musical has a straightforward plot: thrown into gaol, Miguel de Cervantes ropes his fellow-prisoners into enacting his tale of a Spanish noble who decides to revive knight errantry singlehanded. I've seen it before, but always am-dram productions, so I was blown away by cast and spectacle.
Sancho is funny; Aldonza is fiery. Nicholas Lyndhurst excels, switching between the self-appointed judge of Cervantes' mock trial and the affable innkeeper who knights Don Quixote. Everyone in the cast makes the absolute most of their role, particularly the padre and the barber.
And Kelsey Grammer is a humongous ham, and thus perfecly cast as Cervantes/Don Quixote. I have never seen anyone look quite so happy during a curtain call.
"You're Niles," Sarah informed me at the interval. "Because you know all the words but Frasier gets to sing the songs."