Review: ★★★★ Zorro, Cadogan Hall

Review: ★★★★ Zorro, Cadogan Hall

This concert of the West End production of Zorro runs for one night only at Cadogan Hall. Starring some of the members of the original London cast as well as new faces, this performance is not as elaborate as other staged concert productions, but it transports the audience into the world of Zorro, a decade after the musical was first performed in the West End.

Although the concert production loses certain aspects from the staged version, such as the costumes and the full effect of some of the more dramatic, active scenes, the format highlights other aspects of the performance. This production puts the focus on the music, composed by the Gipsy Kings and John Cameron. The absence of a set or scenery becomes irrelevant once the music starts. The flamenco rhythms and soulful accompaniment by the London Musical Theatre Orchestra Chorus immediately evoke the atmosphere of the pueblo in California and the gypsy lifestyle that Diego adopts.

This production also gives the sense of some freedom for the cast, allowing them to have fun with the format of the concert. Robert Tripolino in particular takes advantage of this, interacting with the choir and the orchestra as well as the audience in his role as Ramon. Lesli Margherita and Emma Williams reprise their roles of Inez and Luisa from the original production. They barely need their scripts, and are obviously very comfortable and confident in these roles, which adds an extra element of flair and character to their performances. Ricardo Alfonso’s performance as Zorro/Diego brings the house down, perfectly balancing the humour of the dialogue with the emotion of the music. Even for members of the audience who are unfamiliar with the music, the energy of the performance is contagious. The concert format allows the audience to enjoy the songs more – especially during the encore – than would be possible in a traditionally structured musical.

This production does make the storyline slightly harder to understand for anyone not familiar with the plot and the characters of the original musical. Although the dialogue provides enough information to introduce each character and scene, it is harder to keep track of the changes without the cues that come from costumes and set changes. The action scenes also lose some of their impact, especially in a show where the fighting is an essential component. However, the legend and various interpretations of Zorro are so well known that this does not have a great impact on the audience’s enjoyment of the show.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable performance, especially for people who are familiar with the original West End production or soundtrack. The concert format draws the focus to the music of the Gipsy Kings, allowing the musicians more freedom to improvise and riff and giving the audience a unique performance. For a story that is so easily associated with action, it is impressive that it adapts so well to a concert production.

 

Emma Grimsley

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