book, music and lyrics by Tim Acito.
Additional book and lyrics by Alexander Dinelaris.
Landor Theatre 70 Landor Road SW9 9PH To 29 June 2014.
Tue–Sat 7.30pm Mat Sat & Sun 3pm.
1h 45mins No interval.
TICKETS: 0207 737 7276.
Review: William Russell 5 June.
Fairy fun and frolics.
The world of High School musicals, in which the kids put on a show, is sent up mercilessly and hilariously in this tuneful Off-Broadway musical.
The action takes place in Heartsville High, where inevitably they are planning the end-of-term musical while welcoming a dishy new football captain. So far, par for the course. But Heartsville is no ordinary High. All the pupils are gay and the end of term show is a controversial piece called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell about the role of straights in the military.
The presiding spirit at the school is a pretty fairy called Zanna, played with infectious zest and charm by David Ribi in a variety of sequined tops, who, with his magic wand, solves everyone’s problems and creates a few for himself.
The trouble is the football jock Steve – nicely done by Liam Christopher Lloyd – after falling in love with Mike, the school chess champion – Jonathan Dudley, singing and dancing a storm – discovers he really loves Kate (Ceris Hine, singing sweetly), the girlfriend of the scary Roberta (Jennifer Saayeng, playing butch with brio). Horror of horrors, they are heterosexuals.
The joke is played for all it is worth, although I am not sure that the happy-ever-after resolution of the plot is all that it might be, but no matter. The choreography by Tom Scanlon is terrific, there is a nice set by Ben M Rogers, a first-rate band, and director Drew Baker keeps it moving at top speed.
The songs are tuneful, the lyrics witty, and the cast all get chances to shine. The show dazzles. The only snag is the traverse staging means that the cast are occasionally inaudible because they are directing what they are saying and singing away from a large section of the audience.
Zanna: David Ribi.
Mike: Jonathan Dudley.
Steve: Liam Christopher Lloyd.
Roberta: Jennifer Saayeng.
Tank: Ben Sell.
Arvin: Jonathan Wooldridge.
Candi: Carol Heffernan.
Ensemble: Georgia Phillips.
Ensemble: Thomas Wright.
Director: Drew Baker.
Designer/Lighting: Ben M Rogers.
Musical Supervisor: Benjamin Holder.
Musical Director: Isaac McCullough.
Choreographer: Tom Scanlon.
Costume: Andrew Cox.