A postcard review of ATP’s holiday production Zorro: Family Code

ATP brings the latest production by Rebecca Northan, Bruce Horak and Christian Goutsis, Zorro: Family Code to audiences this holiday season. Caroline Russell-King tells us about this fun play.

Show: Zorro: Family Code.

Playwright/s: Rebecca Northan, Bruce Horak and Christian Goutsis (based on a fictional character created by Johnston McCulley in 1919).

Production Company/Theatre space: Alberta Theatre Projects, Martha Cohen Theatre, Arts Commons.

Length: Two acts (Two hours and 15 minutes, one intermission).

Genre/s: Melodrama-farce.

Premise: An aging villain and his sidekick sympathize with senior superhero Zorro and are subsequently thwarted by him and his family, as they battle over money, property and love.

Why this play? Why now?: I concur with Rebecca Northan who says: “It seems to me that the world is in need of as many every-day-heroes as we can get right now”.

Curiosities: I wondered if the balance of farce and earnestness will change in subsequent incarnations, since the comedy is where the gold is. Also, I don’t believe in audience warnings, but I was amused to be sitting in the STSZ (spit take splash zone).

Notable lines: “You say ‘zee,’ I say ‘zed,’ ” and, “Fake news!”

Notable writing: I imagine that the play development process between these three friends was as enjoyable as the play they created.

Notable performances: As charming and funny as Derek Flores (Zorro #1) and Tyrell Crews (the Villain) are, the scene stealers are Kevin Corey, fearless comic, and precocious/adorable nine-year-old Lucian-River Mirage Chauhan, in his bigger-than-normal child’s role.

Notable design/Production: Kudos to Karl Sine and his assistant Brianna Johnston for the variety and sheer volume of physical and comedic turns in the fight direction.

Notable direction: Rebecca Northan is back in the saddle at ATP directing her production, which is not like the “Spontaneous Theatre” she has pioneered in the past. The audience plays no role in this production except as happy recipients of this fun folly.

One reason to see this show: Not to typecast Kevin Corey but he did win a Betty Mitchell Award for playing a servant in One Man, Two Guvnors, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he got another nod for his servant role in this show as well.

(Photo: Mabelle Carvajal, Kevin Corey, and Tyrell Crews in Alberta Theatre Projects’ production of Zorro: Family Code. Set and lights by Narda McCarroll and costumes by Hanne Loosen.)

Caroline Russell-King is a playwright, dramaturg, and instructor. She is a member of The Playwrights Guild of Canada, the Dramatist Guild of America and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. You can find her work here