Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Delightful adventure leaves 'em Zmiling

  • Print

Scotland's Visible Fictions proves its low-tech storytelling style possesses enough swash and buckle to thrill an audience of kids raised on 3D movies and computer action games.

The globetrotting theatre company, which last visited Manitoba Theatre for Young People in 2010 with a rollicking retelling of the Greek myth about Jason and the Argonauts, returns with another tale of an old-school heroic tale, The Mark of Zorro, this time written by Davey Anderson. The young audience at a school performance this week delighted in the simple but inventive staging that was part pop-up book, comic book and tabletop theatre. They cheered Zorro's vanquishing of the villain and of course jeered his victory kiss with the besotted Isabella.

Zorro, created by New York-based pulp writer Johnston McCulley in 1919, is the secret identity of Don Diego de la Vega who, in early 19th-century California, witnesses the murder of his nobleman father, who cautions his grieving son before he dies: "Don't fight for vengeance, fight only for justice."

When the corrupt Estaban, the captain of the royal guard, allows his soldiers to rob the peasants and then kidnaps Isabella's father, the governor, the all-in-black Zorro rides like the wind on his stallion to the rescue. Although he has no superpowers, Zorro strikes fear into the hearts of bad guys with the snap of his whip and accuracy of his rapier that with three swipes leaves his feared mark.

The real heroes of the eventful 70-minute adventure are cast members Denise Hoey, Neil Thomas and Tim Settle, who narrate and bring the simple fun to The Mark of Zorro, geared for children seven and up. The trio make it look like child's play with cardboard puppets literally pulled out of an over-sized storybook. The horses are played by performers who hold a large cartoon head in one hand, a tail in the other. They earned chuckles from the preteen audience when a few nuggets were dropped to represent horse buns.

The ingenuity in the telling extends to the use of large swath of masking tape as a stand in for a road that gets blown up by a drawing of an old-fashioned fused bomb and a sign that reads "boom." Zorro leaves his mark on his victims, including Hoey, who pulls opens her blouse to reveal a T-shirt emblazoned with a Z.

The effect on the parents watching is a powerful desire to be a kid at play again.

Also versatile and effective is Robin Peoples' set-in-a-box, or what looks like a newspaper kiosk. It flips open every which way, comes apart and re-assembles into everything from a dungeon to a rooftop and a church. Director Davey Anderson keeps the action moving at a gallop, aided by David Trouton's soundscape, which sounds vaguely like theme music from TV westerns.

The 1880s caped crusader wins the day in The Mark of Zorro but every young person wins who learns its lessons about justice and heroism.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 2, 2013 G6

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Chief Clunis denies link between internal sexual-harassment investigation and Tina Fontaine case

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • A goose flys defensively to protect their young Wednesday near Kenaston Blvd and Waverley -See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 16 - May 23, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


Who will you vote for in Wednesday's mayoral race?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google