“ Musical Theatre Production „
Wow what a great show, the cast was full of very talented actors, singers and dancers providing pure quality entertainment. The flamenco dancing was superbly choreographed and full of emotion and passion...we were lost in the whole atmosphere created by the music, dance and action packed sword fights. Would recomend it for all.neera, west london
Fantastic show! Everything you could possibly want from a musical! The dancing is spectacular, the songs (by The Gypsy Kings) are really enjoyable and still have you humming along as you leave the show, when we went all of the audience got up and danced along for the encore number. The fight scenes were well choreographed and very entertaining - almost cartoon like. Put all of that together with magic tricks that were very well executed, fantastic performances from all the cast and the great set and costumes and you've got a really great show. I can't recommend it enough.
Having a best friend who works in marketing resulting in him often being sent free tickets to opening nights, parties etc usually has its benefits. He even got sent two free tickets to the Brits but couldn't go (I was gutted!) and so instead, when he was sent free tickets to the press night and world premier of the musical Zorro in Eastbourne he asked me to go. 'Riveting' I thought - not quite the same as a night at the Brits - but as the tickets were free we decided to go along.
I am pleased we decided to go as 'Zorro' was everything you could hope to get from a musical and even more!
Zorro (Spanish for 'Fox' and how he came to get his name) essentially created the genre of 'masked, caped crusaders'. Before Spiderman, Superman, Batman & Robin and the likes of other masked heroes who lead a double life of citizens by day but crusaders by night, was the debut of Zorro. His creation, over a century ago, was down to a pulp fiction author by the name of Johnston McCulley, who introduced the world to Don Diego, a Spanish nobleman who disguises himself in a mask and cape to defend the people of California from the acquisitive and tyrannical designs of various villains and corrupt officials.
Since his creation, Zorro has seen many transformations and has appeared in numerous short stories and films, including 'The Mask of Zorro', which hit our screens in 1998 as an adaptation of the 1940's film with the same name and it's sequel in 2005, 'The Legend of Zorro'.
Throughout the years, however, one thing has remained the same with the Zorro stories and that is the settings. Zorro has always been tied to California and Barcelona.
The musical of Zorro follows along the same lines as the stories.
Diego, played by the rather handsome Matt Rawle, rejects his birthright and his father's wishes (The Mayor, Don Alejandro, played by Earl Carpenter) to stay in California and learn about responsibility, dignity and honour at the Academy and instead runs off to Barcelona where he travels with a group of gypsies, dancing, singing and sword fighting (and general womanising) to earn money on the streets.
However, when he unexpectedly bumps into an old friend from California and he learns of his father's death and the resulting oppressing of the locals by Captain Ramon, Diego heads back to California to find out for himself the truth about what happened to his father.
He does not like what he sees when he returns to California and knows that he has to defend his father's honour and bring down Ramon and his Army. He does not want the townspeople knowing it is him, however, and decides to disguise himself in a mask and cape.
The characters are well thought out and expertly assigned to the actors playing them.
Matt Rawle makes for a very dashing Diego by day with his tight trousers and white shirt, accompanied by his sword and whip (I think I fell in love with him a little bit - good job The Boyfriend wasn't with me!....) when travelling with the gypsies.
Adam Cooper did an excellent job as Captain Ramon, portraying the evilness of his character but he was more than a mere baddie (which is why I found it rather odd that some of the audience actually booed him when he came out to take his bow at the end!) and his raw emotions shone through expertly, giving the audience a reason for his actions, sparking from jealousy.
Aimee Atkinson played the part of Luisa, Diego's old friend from California who he bumped into in Barcelona and convinced him to return home. Although a very good actor, the character of Luisa just annoyed the hell out of me. Far too pathetic for my liking! It was clear as soon as Luisa and Diego met in Barcelona that they would have some kind of relationship but whether they actually fell in love/got together was still not quite explained to the audience.
Other than Diego, the character who left most of an impression was Inez played by Lesli Margherita. Inez is Diego's gypsy friend from Barcelona. A complete opposite to Luisa, Inez was loud, confident, brash and reminded me a little of Amy Winehouse (before she went wrong!).
Nick Cavaliere played the role of Garcia - one of Ramon's henchmen. It was apparent from his first appearance that he would be a central character and his lovable appearance and clear lust for Inez made him far too endearing to be evil. His genuine likeability surpassed his role and his expert performance of his song 'One More Beer' in Act Two had the audience laughing and singing along.
The actor who had one of the hardest jobs was Daniel Gentely who played Chego, a mute gypsy friend of Diego. He did not have a single line throughout the whole show and therefore really had to step up his acting. He did so wonderfully. The audience was shown the character of Chego through his acting and his vulnerability and sincerity shone through and his scene in Act One when trying to explain to Diego that he should disguise himself in a mask and cape was hilarious and had the audience in stitches.
There are many more amazing actors and actresses in the production, too many to mention or this review will go on forever, but the above are the main characters and well worthy of a mention.
Musical numbers/staging etc
One thing that every actor/actress on the stage had in common was their fantastic dancing abilities. The entire show was packed full of breathtaking dancing (and the productions included flamenco dancers from Madrid.) led by internationally-renowned choreographer Rafael Amargo.
Some of the fight scenes were like nothing I had ever see before on a stage and more of what I am used to in a blockbuster action movie - Matt Rawle has to perform lightning whip tricks as well as spectacular fire-throwing. He even swings from a rope over the heads of the audience while wielding his sword. The sword fights are fast and furious and completely real which makes it even more exciting.
The music throughout was thanks to the world famous and Grammy Award-winners, the Gypsy Kings. They're one of the most successful bands in history (with songs that everyone would have heard of - such as 'Bambaleo') and France's biggest musical export and yet they are a very rare type of band - they are famous for their music and not their celebrity antics - you wont read about them in papers or see them on tv on a daily basis. The Gipsy Kings are drawn from two sets of brothers - the Reyes and the Baliardos - although the line-up has changed somewhat since their creation - and have become global superstars since the release of their album (and single Bambaleo) in 1987.
A solo guitarist would come out at different points throughout scenes and strum away and that guitar music gave rise to the most poignant and breathtaking scenes
I could go on for ages about this musical as it really did have such an impact but overall, Zorro is a passionate, sexy, awe-inspiring, astounding and truly authentic work of art with fantastic dances, scenes, characters, magic tricks and special effects abundant. It has been a while since I have seen a show that left as huge an impression as Zorro did and I am even considering seeing it again when it arrives at the west end in the summer as I think the whole production would be even more remarkable on a bigger stage. As you can imagine, I highly recommend you see this if you get the chance!
Where can I see it?
As I explained before, I had free tickets to see this at the world premiere and press night at Congress Theatre in Eastbourne so I don't know how much the tickets were.
However, the show is still touring before arriving at the west end and you can catch it at the following venues:-
Southampton - Mayflower Theatre - Wednesday 19th - Saturday 22nd March 2008
Glasgow - King's Theatre - Tuesday 25th - Saturday 29th March 2008
Manchester - Opera House - Tuesday 1st - Saturday 5th April
Milton Keynes - Marlborough Gate - Tuesday 8th - Saturday 12th April 2008
Thanks for reading
Catch it live in your area! Eastbourne, Manchester, Glasgow, Woking, Milton Keynes and Southampton.