Friday, March 07, 2008

Tights, Tapas & Torsos

As anticipated, Zorro the Musical was indeed just about the campest thing I have seen this year, and that includes pantomime and of course, the Big Gay Wedding last month. Currently previewing in Eastbourne prior to its West End run, Zorro is a lavish production with impressive sets, super costumes and lots and lots of foot-stamping flamenco numbers, set to the music of the Gipsy Kings. There's not much of a plot to speak of, and it does feel rather thinly stretched at times, especially during the easily forgettable ballady songs. But when it gets going, and the stage is filled with 30 dancers stomping along to 'Bambaleo', it's hard not to love. In eye-candy stakes, it certainly ticks the boxes - my 'date' for the night, GBF Damien was making good use of his opera glasses every time some young male-twirlie appeared in tight trousers and slashed fencing shirt, or even better, topless. The leading lady, Luisa (played by Radio 2 Musical Voice of the Year 2006 winner Aimee Atkinson), was annoyingly twee at times, but her counterpart, the fiery gypsy woman Inez (played by genuine Latino-American Lesli Margherita), more than made up for this weak link in an otherwise pretty solid cast. Zorro himself (Matt Rawle) seemed to get more and more mincing as the show went on, which is not necessarily a complaint - if anything I would have preferred uninterrupted campery to the unconvincing attempts at 'serious' drama that occasionally dragged down an otherwise stupendously silly two and a half hours.

It was nice to be back in my old stomping ground for the evening, and to drop in for a pre-theatre bite at my favourite Eastbourne eatery, Flamenco - delicious tapas and Spanish tipples seemed wonderfully in keeping with the evening's entertainments. We even popped in to say 'hi' to my mum at the Devonshire Park Theatre (without a doubt the loveliest of Eastbourne's performance venues), where she's currently working as Stage Door Keeper. While we were there, she was accosted by one of the actors from the current show, with whom it transpired she has several friends in common, including my own absentee Godfather, Tony Linford. Apparently these kind of connections happen all the time in Luvvieland, especially when you've been part of it for as long as she has. Having done a ten year stint in 'showbiz' myself, I am more than happy to remain on the other side of the curtain these days - it certainly makes theatre-going a more exciting experience anyway.

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