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Zorro: The Fox's Tale, by Kimberly Jurgen
If it ain't on the page...
Monday, April 16, 2001
1.0
While this production is lacking in many ways (a clunky, mismanaged set; fight choreography that is slow and telegraphed; and the myriad of dialects the actors use), ultimately the biggest problem of all is a script that meanders through and steals from a variety of swashbuckling iconography (a trick that is insults the originals rather than paying homage to them) and yet has absolutely no backbone of its own.

It is painfully unclear to the audience exactly what the point of the plot is. While the title suggests that Zorro (Ryan McWhorter) is our hero, it is difficult to decipher what he's fighting for. We are told he is a hero of the people fighting a corrupt military led by Sgt. Gonzales (Dolph Amick) who actually has throughout served as comic relief not the embodiment of villainy. Or, is Zorro fighting his best friend Don Podrido (Nick Gilland) because of some plot to steal gold from another caballero? Or, is Zorro fighting Catherine (Sarah Bond), the woman who is allegedly stealing his heart despite the fact that the sexual chemistry between these two characters is about as hot as leftover egg noodles?

Then, there is the question of unworkable, pointless subplots like a beautiful senorita from San Gabriel who enters in only two scenes to become embroiled in a secondary love triangle, and then disappears without a trace. I assume she arrives merely to facilitate a gratuitous cat fight that occurs in the middle of Act II (the mercifully shorter of the two acts).

There are indeed bright spots, though. Each member of the oversized ensemble is working very hard to deliver serviceable performances despite the hurdles in the script. In fact, there is great commitment in the portrayals of Sgt. Gonzales, Don Podrido, Lupita Perez (Kara Cantrell), Cela Vano (Rachel Connerty), and John Masterson (Jim Sligh), as well as a delightfully adept performance by child-actress, Emma Goidel, as Christine Masterson. I actually found myself wishing I could see many of the actors in something else... anything else.

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