Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Zubin Varla. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Zubin Varla. Sort by date Show all posts

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Ghost Quartet, Boulevard Theatre | Review

Ghost Quartet
Boulevard Theatre 
Reviewed on Friday 1st November 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 

The opening of a new theatre in central London is cause for celebration, especially when it's as wonderfully sophisticated and welcoming as the Boulevard. SODA architects have created a millennial dream with a pink-walled restaurant with delicious looking food and cocktails and a completely chilled atmosphere. Whilst, Charcoalblue have made a theatre space which is versatile, extremely comfortable and just great. The programme of late night concerts, cabarets and podcasts is an exciting one indeed and this space is sure to become a hub for new theatrical experiences. The Sketch of the theatre world, the Boulevard is certainly worth a visit!

As the inaugural show, Dave Malloy's Ghost Quartet paves the way to stray from convention. The show is pretty much a song-cycle of interlinked ghost stories, sung track by track by an amazing group of performers. The four musicians play a whole range of instruments and introduce each track as they perform it. There's also a regular breaking of the fourth wall and the audience feel part of the story throughout. The line between real life person and character becomes blurred as the performers are addressed by both their actual names and show names. They also comment on the strangeness of the story throughout in a very meta manner which works exceptionally in the space. 

We are introduced to a number of characters and stories which are eerie as opposed to scary and really don't make a tonne of sense, but that totally doesn't matter. The amazing performances and variety of musical styles make this a piece which wraps you round it's finger without having, or needing a proper plot. The circular seating adds to the feeling of being gathered round a campfire listening to stories the whole experience feels communal in a magical way.

The piece feels marvellously balanced between being off the cuff and rough around the edges but also highly sophisticated. Bill Buckhurst's direction has allowed the performers to be themselves as they interact with the audience but still maintain an aura of otherworldliness. Simon Kenny's set of piled suitcases, books and various household items allow for visual interest and frame the performers wonderfully. Emma Chapman's lighting is refined and effective. 

The cast are an exceptionally talented bunch with some of the most stunning vocal tones gracing London stages right now. Carly Bawden, Maimuna Memon, Zubin Varla and Niccolò Curradi give completely enchanting performances and share a graceful rapport with each other  and the audience. The way the performers exit the stage is completely magical and leaves you feeling warm and content, perhaps not how you'd expect to feel after a show with Ghost in the title. The vivacious performances and gripping qualities of characterisation throughout make Ghost Quartet a thrilling way to spend ninety minutes. 

Ghost Quartet runs at the Boulevard Theatre until January 4th 2019

photo credit: Marc Brenner

Monday, 24 February 2020

Zorro, Cadogan Hall | Review

Cadogan Hall
Reviewed on Sunday 23rd February 2020 by Olivia Mitchell

Fiery, Latin, wacky, soulful and brilliant, Zorro made a triumphant return to London last night, 12 years after its West End premiere. The story of Diego De La Vega who becomes the illusive Fox aka Zorro, to save his town from the tyrannical reign of his childhood friend Ramon, is the classic good vs evil that can't help but invest you with its sincerity and heart of gold. Add to this a score by the Gipsy Kings and a fantastic cast and you've got a great night on your hands.

The plot is wafer thin but in this concert setting, we really had the chance to go beyond that to focus on the fantastic Spanish music and the wonderful characterisation from the whole cast. Even in a full setting, I would imagine that the self-awareness of this show, means you can pretty much overlook the plot faults and just enjoy it for what it is- a heap of fun! There are many 'deep' moments peppered throughout the production, but they're equally balanced with camp humour and wit which lighten the tone and allow us to go on a pretty much carefree journey.

Ricardo Afonso was incredibly convincing and powerful as Zorro/Diego, giving a completely marvellous vocal performance and enrapturing the audience of Cadogan Hall. Delightfully tongue in cheek, with a great balance of sincerity, swagger and playfulness, there's not much more you could ask for from the debonair hero. In great contrast, Robert Tripolino was truly evil as the rapacious ruler Ramon and completely commanded the stage in every moment. Zubin Varla and Jo Parsons, gave solid performances and it's just a shame we didn't get the chance to see and hear more from them.

The love interest Luisa was performed with tenderness by Emma Williams, who revived her West End role and showcased her vocal dexterity, namely in her touching rendition of The Man Behind the Mask.

Also reviving her (Olivier Award Winning) role, was Lesli Margherita who deservedly garnered much applause as the vivacious, smouldering gypsy Inez. Lesli's rendition of Bamboleo will be a memorable moment for everyone at Cadogan Hall and we can only hope she'll be back on London soil soon!

Under the baton of Freddie Tapner, the LMTO orchestra brought vibrant energy to the Hall, with exceptional guitar and percussion woven throughout the entire score. The foot stomping music was fully realised thanks to Paul Smith's sound design which was wonderfully balanced and showcased every single performer and musician brilliantly.

Entertaining and enthusiastic, Zorro was a perfect way to spend a Sunday. Hopefully the rapturous reception is enough to bring this musical back to London very soon. Viva el Zorro!

photo credit: Darren Bell