Looking for something out of the ordinary to do on a Thursday night can be a bit of a stretch, even in a city as vibrant as Liverpool.
Most evening activities generally fall within set categories: gig, theatre show, exhibition, cinema trip; so when I stumbled across The Kazimier’s bizarre and frankly outlandish concept, Sancho Panza, I booked 2 tickets right away.
The score: Six masked writers. Three rounds. Five minutes. One Belt.
The idea is this: 2 writers, donning Mexican wrestling masks enter the ring and are given 5 minutes to write the best short story they can muster. With 3 key words to include and 30 seconds to plan their masterpiece, the wordsmiths take their seats at a computer and their story is live-streamed through a projector. The winner, chosen by a panel of literary judges, proceeds to the next round, whilst the loser is unmasked. And once again, all this takes place inside a wrestling ring. Inside the Kazimier.
Now, you may think this sounds pretty tame; intellectuals typing away on a laptop whilst the audience nod their heads in appreciation. Not so; the team behind this amazing event had gone all out to deliver the Lucha Libre experience, with a dapper announcer in a three-piece suit, comic referee, heavy rock entrance music and tequila tequila!
“No fighting, no semi colons” quipped the ref to start each match, who kept up the comedy throughout as unexpected technical issues prompted hilariously dramatic one-liners such as “a software update?! Nobody could have expected this!” This quick, witty banter was a recurring theme, and every member of the team of Wild Writers (@WildWriters) responsible for the event was brilliantly cast in their role and clearly loved working on the project.
After 2 literary bouts came Jack’s Chilli Shack Challenge, a self-explanatory gastronomic competition for the ‘macho’ men in the house, which kept the tone light hearted and fun. Then, the closet WWE fans hiding behind their skinny jeans and haircuts, were finally outed as we had an interval of music from Spanish Announce Team (@Spanish_A_Team).
Proudly asserting their status as “the greatest entrance music cover band in the world!”, the group launched into a set of 2 minute wonders, each a brilliantly accurate and comic interpretation of cult wrestling theme songs. Ironic, energetic and mostly very silly, the band were a huge hit and set the bar higher for the second half of the night.
Unfortunately, the evening was very nearly sabotaged by finalist “El Dandy”, who clearly knew he was beaten before the tout began, and proceeded to throw the match by writing ignorant, lazy abusive phrases rather than follow the rules and write an entertaining story for the audience and judges to enjoy.
The audience and judges were of one mind, and “El Dandy” was shamefully unmasked as “Glamoroso”, the rightful winner, was awarded with the Sancho Panza World Heavyweight Title Belt.
Sancho Panza ended on a high with a live exhibition wrestling match. Courtesy of Infinite Promotions, the Kazimier played host to a high-energy, expertly choreographed and impressively stunt-filled fight, in which a local wrestler came head to head with a pint sized luchador. Highly entertaining and brilliant fun, the match united the whole crowd, cheering and shouting as the wrestlers tore through the audience and threw each other from the balconies and staircases weaving throughout the venue. Never previously a wrestle-mania fanatic, I can honestly say I was surprised how much fun this theatrical sport can be!
A fantastically inventive, original and comic evening, I sincerely hope that the Kazimier can turn this into a larger, more regular event, as each element of the concept worked so well, and the audience lapped up every minute of the action with an ear to ear grin.