Shaw Performing Arts Centre (Venue 9), to Sunday
What would high school be like in a gay universe where being straight was taboo?
This gleeful off-Broadway musical is set at Heartsville High, where the drama club creates a musical about the controversial issue of straights in the military.
The boy and girl who play the hetero leads realize they have feelings for one another (their duet Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is a highlight). Will they be banned from the prom, or can Zanna, the flamboyant class fairy, cast a spell to set everything straight (er, right)?
Stage 16’s winning 105-minute production shows off a talented nine-member local cast. Melodies are not the strong suit of derivative composer Tim Acito, but the numbers are infectious and the dancing terrific.
Nelson Bettencourt (Zanna) is often drowned out by the band. The trio that does a patter song fails to enunciate. Stephanie Sy (Roberta) is a powerhouse who shows the most potential to soar, but needs to stop piercing the audience’s eardrums.
Those are just quibbles. The funny, uplifting show earned a delirious standing ovation, and this crusty critic had tears in her eyes at the sheer joy and exuberance of the cast.
— Alison Mayes
From the official Fringe Festival program:
A fabulous musical fairy tale set in a parallel universe where homosexuality is the norm, heterosexuality is taboo and a magical matchmaker brings true love to one and all!
A mix of Grease and Glee, Zanna, Don't! is a witty, hilarious and blissful musical from the company behind last year's sold-out hit Spelling Bee.
Recommended For: General Audience
Length: 105 MIN
Warnings: Strobe Lights, Glitter