• Jordan Hayter

“Viva El Zorro”: Zorro makes its blazing return to the West End

Updated: Apr 22

FROM sword fighting, to vast scenes of Spanish flamenco dancing to a classic love story, Zorro has something for everyone and is a truly unique experience.

Benjamin Purkiss (Diego and Zorro) in Zorro the Musical. Photo by Pamela Raith Photography

Set to the music of the Gipsy Kings, including songs such as “Bamboleo” and “Djobi Djoba”, Zorro tells the classic tale of a small pueblo, once thriving with prosperity, being brutally taken over by a tyrannical leader. As the pueblo grows more in fear, a caped crusader begins to appear, spreading justice and freedom wherever he goes. This story is one every Zorro fan knows and is the classic plotline for the freedom fighter. I think certain character ambitions and plotlines could have been developed further instead of some of the larger dance numbers however the story progressed at the correct pace.

The production is set with the audience on each side and the stage in the middle, and from the moment you enter the theatre, you are immersed in the world they create. As you enter, some people have to cross the stage to get to their seats, but as the show gets closer to beginning, the cast start a classic street scene, that goes from people casually playing their instruments toa whole street party of flamenco dancing and energy. It truly gets you immersed into the energy of the pueblo and the Spanish gypsies.

The whole cast work together to create this united energy that is needed for the gypsies and the people of the pueblo. They truly make the show, with some accompanying scenes, playing an instrument for background music or assisting the bad. These include trumpet, bass, guitar, etc. Phoebe Panaretos steals the show as Inez, the gypsy queen. I found myself waiting for her to appear back on stage and could never take my eyes of her. She showed the complexities of her character throughout the whole show, but it was her chemistry with any character she spoke to which made her standout. Her comedic moments, some with Diego but most with Sergeant Garcia, were very amusing to watch, and balanced out some of the more dramatic scene.

Another standout for me was Alex Gibson-Giorgio as tyrannical leader and brother, Ramon. From the moment he returns to the stage after we see the what the pueblo has become, he carries this power. You are immediately afraid of him and feel like a member of the pueblo. His presence overpowers anyone he is in a scene with, and as we see him unravel, his performance gets even more intense. Another shout out must go to Marc Pickering as Sergeant Garcia, who worked as the show’s comedic balance. His scenes were always fun to watch.

The soundtrack of the show is one that is being criticised most. I think where the music fails is in the lyrics. I found that the music I left loving was almost entirely in Spanish and the English ballads didn’t provide the right emotion out of me. The lyrics in some songs feel rather childlike. I think the show needs to lean more heavily on the Spanish undertones, for example “Libertad” holds some of the most emotion I've ever heard in a musical number. I would actually love to see an entirely Spanish production of this show as I feel it would heighten the show, however I understand that for an English production to succeed, people need to understand. I also would have personally loved a big fight scene to “Bamboleo” but that is entirely my opinion.

Zorro is a very original experience that you do not get often at the West End, with an ensemble that will move you and fight scenes that will excite you. It is certainly something I recommend people check out, no matter what you may hear about the production.

Zorro is currently running at Charing Cross Theatre until 28th May 2022.

You can buy tickets at: https://charingcrosstheatre.co.uk/