Zanna, Don’t

Aug 16 2015 | By More

✭✭✭✭✭  True Excellence

Young critics scheme review
C venues – C (Venue 34): Wed 5 – Mon 31 Aug 2015

Colourful, comical, and unashamedly camp, MGA’s production of Zanna, Don’t is a credit to the work of the original writer of the musical, Tim Acito.

Director Drew Gowland has also added a huge amount of hilarity with excellent casting and a vibrant overall design for the show.

Jack Nixon and the cast of Zanna Dont Photo: AJG Photography

Jack Nixon and the cast of Zanna Don’t. Photo: AJG Photography

The musical addresses issues of labelling, homophobia and prejudice, in a light-hearted and corny manner. It leaves you with sore ribs from laughing so hard, but also considering issues in today’s society.

It is set in the parallel world where gay is the new straight, heterophobia is the new homophobia, and everyone wears bright colours and falls in love instantly. Zanna, played by Jack Nixon, is the cupid of Heartsville High, bringing gay couples everywhere together. But when a forbidden straight couple emerges, Zanna has to face his biggest challenge yet.

Admittedly, this show may not be for everyone, but for anyone with an open mind – who doesn’t cringe at the ridiculous cheesiness of it all – it is stupendous. The scene in which the students of Heartsville High are performing a musical about straight people in the military is particularly side-splitting, and it showcases the talented ensemble which make the dance routines and songs so tight.

The acting is perhaps what makes the musical such a roaring success. Nixon, although not the strongest singer, more than makes up for it with extreme dancing talent and an acting ability worthy of the West End. Another central character is football team captain Steve, who Thomas Doherty portrays as the only male in the school who isn’t camp. This provides a great deal of comedy, and with Doherty’s acting skills the character becomes all the more memorable.

untiring energy

Elly Jay, who plays the bubbly Roberta, stands out as one of the best actors in the whole show. Her untiring energy throughout attracts the eye from the minute she first appears onstage.

The actor who makes the production the hilarious spectacle it is, is Scott Colman. He plays Arvin, the campest member of Heartsville. A boy who, despite being walked all over most of the time, still has his fair share of sassy outbursts. Colman’s use of voice and comic timing is impeccable. Kirsty Allen plays Candi alongside Colman, and her excellent, unique portrayal of this bossy school try-hard provides the perfect double act with Arvin.

It is hard to fault the production However, Gowland strays from the sweet romantic aspect at times, making it more sexual than it needs to be. For example, when the straight couple are beginning to fall in love, they both remove their tops during a song which feels unnecessary and slightly uncomfortable. However this is a small imperfection on an otherwise fantastic spectacle.

This is a vibrant must-see for anyone who loves all-singing, all-dancing explosions of camp hilarity – with a few touching moments along the way.

Running time: 1 hour 25 minutes
C venues – C (Venue 34), Chambers Street, EH1 1HR
Wednesday 5 – Sunday 30 August 2015
Daily 7.30pm
Book tickets on the EdFringe website:


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