Cadogan Hall (venue)

27 February 2020 (released)

27 February 2020

There is a mythical fascination about some fictional characters, like the recent film fascination with comic book superheroes, and the appeal of Zorro, a fictional character created in the early 1900’s, is one of those whose protector-of-the-weak-against-the-strong persona captured the imagination of readers in the early 1900’s and then movie-goers since the 1920 film adaptation starring Douglas Fairbanks as the caped and masked hero riding the jet-black stallion and protecting poor farmers of Spanish California against the wealthy and corrupt landowners.

The fascination of the visibly dramatic protector- hero in the Robin Hood mould who defends the poor against the rich is clear enough – it engages with powerful emotions related to justice and its vindication. It is, however, not immediately obvious that a musical version with this theme, would work in the same way as the film and in fact, this is a revival and re-working of a successful musical version and succeeds in creating something very different from either the fiction or film version but keeping the mythical allure.

The Spanish background of the story provides a strong musical focus for this concert/play version with the Gypsy Kings’ music as a thematic thread throughout, which creates a mood of melancholy mixed with a strong rhythmic impulse of dance. What seems to make this concert version of Zorro work for the audience is the mixture of this powerful music with the simple power of the basic story line (a family drama as well as a social drama – the good versus bad brother, in this case) and a story of personal and moral redemption. All of this is done with touches of the light and comical interspersed with the drama, while the powerful rhythmic backdrop from the Gypsy Kings keeps feelings at a high pitch of readiness and emotion for everything that happens.

There are some fine songs here that try to reach the heights of their dramatic subjects and their success is enhanced by the wonderful musical gifts of Emma Williams and with powerful performances by Leslie Margherita and a convincing and passionate musical performance by Ricardo Alfonso. This is a highly enjoyable and entertaining revival with an appeal to all age ranges. It is a performance that brings audiences to their feet – and no wonder with the lively Gypsy Kings’ music and dramatic singing combining to lift you off your feet.

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