Don Quixote by Quill and Inkling - Photo: Al Pulford

The charm of outside theatre is the unique experience of seeing a performance in an unusual setting, in a way that will never be repeated; this risk is that the weather might make experience pretty damp.

The latter was the unfortunate fate of the second outing of Quill & Inkling’s 2023 summer production Don Quixote, at Norwich’s Plantation Gardens, with Cervantes’ story told under British drizzle rather than its native Spanish sun.

That didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the four-strong cast – or a quintet if you include the puppet of Don Quixote which is a near-constant presence on the arm of Joshua Gould, who plays both Cervantes and his famous creation.

He is joined by AJ Deane as squire Sancho, and Georgie Matthews and Kiara Hawker who between them play a varied roster of characters including a priest, a woman pretending to be a shepherd boy, and an innkeeper and his wife, as well as animating some scenery. With a smattering of accents and a talent for quick costume changes, they definitely earn their money.

Ivan Wilkinson’s adaptation takes a few gentle liberties with the narrative but the essence remains intact, and it moves along at reasonable chug. Some of the story’s satire is lost to a modern ear, but there remains enough that is relatable – along with some pleasing adlibs – to keep even a sodden audience engaged.

Pray for sun and this is an enjoyable summer diversion, with gentle laughs and a disarming humanity. Get rain and you might need to try harder, but the company won’t let you down.

  • Dates include St Mary’s Church, Sudbury (August 4); St Mary The Virgin, Dunstable (August 9); St Michael’s Church, Longstanton (August 10), and Dereham Windmill (August 20). Visit the Quill & Inkling website for more details and ticket bookings