EDINBURGH 2015 - BWW Reviews: ZANNA, DON'T, C, August 11 2015
Zanna, Don't is your typical high school rom com, with something of a twist. There are all the traditional elements of the genre - quarterbacks and queen bees, cliques and crushes - but in the camp and colourful upside-down universe of Zanna, Don't, chess players are sex symbols, baking brownies is the manliest of hobbies, and gay relationships are the norm. The musical follows a school year at Heartsville High where magical matchmaker Zanna and his friends take a break from prom planning and sports games to explore the controversial issue of "heterophobia", an issue that soon becomes very real for two of their classmates.
The show has a wonderful contemporary score, ranging from heartfelt ballads to witty patter songs, and plenty of laughs. This production from Edinburgh's MGA Academy of Performing Arts brought the saccharine sweet campy fun to life with a strong ensemble who tackled the bold characters with gusto, particularly the supremely bossy Candi and her long-suffering sidekick Arvin. Occasionally, lack of amplification coupled with faster-paced numbers did mean that some of the lyrics were not projected enough.
Volume aside, the production zips along, not overstaying its welcome at 90 minutes, accompanied by energetic choreography and a bold design of bright neon blues and pinks. In a weirdly appropriate moment, some teenage boys behind me (apparently not quite aware of what they were in for!) commented that the opening set looked "so freaking gay". By the end of the show, they were whooping and cheering along with the rest of the audience, won over by the catchy tunes, campy humour and the message of acceptance of this heart-warming musical.
Zanna, Don't runs at C at 1930 every day until August 30th.