Left - Chris Buchanan & Jessica Carbone. Cover - (l-r) Luke Taylor, Nicole Kapiniaris, Kate Williams, Chris Buchanan, Nic Riley, Samuel Kitchen & Drew Downing. Photos - Adam Rafferty
Imagine a world where being gay is the norm and heterosexuals are the minority. Such is the premise of Zanna, Don’t!, which is set at a high school somewhere in the US.
Here the local match-maker, Zanna (Samuel Kitchen) waves his magic wand to enable everyone to find a loved one.
He ensures that lonely newcomer and football quarterback Steve (Nic Riley) falls for Mike (Chris Buchanan), the chess champion and school idol.
Roberta (Jessica Carbone), who hasn’t had much luck in the love stakes, manages to find bull-riding champ Kate (Kate Williams) – thanks to Zanna.
All goes well until the Drama Club decide to create a musical dealing with the hot issue of Heterosexuals in the military. While performing a ballad about a hetero couple, Steve and Kate realise that they have feelings for each other – and the world starts to change.
Originally created by Tim Acito (book, music and lyrics), Zanna, Don’t! starts off really well, as it cleverly and charmingly sets the tone for the show and plays with the homosexual/heterosexual conventions.
Songs are mostly catchy and filled with satire, such as the Village People-inspired Be a Man, and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which comments on the issue of gays in the military. There are some very funny lines and references to sexuality as the show deals with the issues of homophobia and equality. Of course, there is a reference or two to Olivia Newton-John’s Xanadu.
The cast of eight all perform very well together, with stand-out performances from Nic Riley, Jessica Carbone and Kate Williams.
Unfortunately the second act lets the show down slightly by attempting to resolve the dilemmas all too quickly and melodramatically, but without the charm of the first act.
Director Luke Gallagher and choreographers Tamara Finch and James Rooney ensure the production is well staged and moves at a great pace.
In all Zanna, Don’t! remains another fun filled Midsumma experience.
Quirky Productions presents
part of the Midsumma Festival
Venue: Chapel Off Chapel
Dates: January 30 to February 14, 2009
Bookings/Further Info: www.zannadont.com.au