Sword fighting duels, romance and comic trickery in fun musical
PUBLISHED: 19:21 11 November 2017 | UPDATED: 19:45 11 November 2017
Flamenco, sword fighting, fire and Latin music – Keith Thompson reviews Green Room’s swashbuckling production of Zorro The Musical at the Wyllyotts Theatre in Potters Bar.
Zorro – the black clad masked swordsman, saving California in a classic tale of good versus evil.
Pulsating and passionate Flamenco to music by the award-winning Gypsy Kings, but with a big dose of comedy and never taking itself too seriously.
This is what we were promised.
I wondered what the lyricists would make of rhymes for ‘swashbuckling, vamonos muchachos, and fajitas!’
Director John Hebden acknowledged the wider than usual range of skills required to mount this particular piece of Hollywood hokum.
A mixture of Latin music coupled with more typical show songs, some very genuine Flamenco solos requiring a passionate harsh tone, and dancing entirely in Flamenco style without a hint of tap or ballet, alongside duels, romance and comic trickery.
And flame effects – a Z in real fire on stage!
To attempt all this was outside the normal range of most theatre companies.
In the title role Stewart Jordan must have been gasping for breath, but it didn’t show.
Swinging onstage on a rope, performing conjuring tricks, rushing out through the auditorium, sword fighting (one against five) while singing and playing what was essentially two parts as the lightweight Diego and the heroic Zorro was apparently effortless.
The highlight of his singing performance was the duet ‘A Love We’ll Never Live’ with Holly Macer as Luisa.
She sang beautifully throughout, with that duet plus ‘Falling’ and ‘The Man Behind The Mask’ both exceptional.
Stephen Brannan was the sneering, villainous Ramon, cruel and uncaring towards his citizens.
Kim Davis played the feisty gypsy Inez, sexually deliberately provocative and creating a strong character always in evidence leading the chorus in song and dance.
The best comic portrayal came from Sam Buckingham as the incompetent Sergeant Garcia, and the best comic scene was the confessional with the two leading men plus a priest doing a fast crosstalk act.
The three young members Eloise and Joshua Luke and Danny Corbo played a difficult opening scene very well to get the play started.
I saw the show on the first night.
There were a couple of hitches with set changes, but I felt that the set, which looked magnificent with its multi-level, multi-purpose function was too complex.
There were some moments of blackout between scenes while the set was reorganised, and on a stage this size I felt almost every setting could have been in place all the time.
The show itself is musically stimulating and exciting, vibrant and rhythmic, but the dialogue was too slow at times with some of the dialogue pedestrian, with unnecessary pauses.
The band, guitars and trumpets, Mariachi style, was superb.
Altogether a fun evening with unusual material, which was obviously enjoyed by the nearly full house.
• Review by Keith Thompson