Zombie Prom

The collaboration of John Dempsey’s story and Dana P Rowe’s composition leads to almost everything you expect musical comedy to be – cheesy, American, high octane and cringe worthy to the maximum extent. And yet, while this is hardly a groundbreaking production (despite its pretentions to be the Prom’s UK Premiere) it is not short of amusement and will almost certainly leave a smile on your face.When Toffee and Jonny (“aren’t I cool because my name has no “h”) end their relationship two weeks before the school prom, a devastated Jonny runs off to the local nuclear site and kills himself. What we haven’t reckoned on, or perhaps some of us had if we’d read the title, is that Jonny is to return, as a twitching, bright green teenage Zombie, desperate to win Toffee back. Unfortunately the principal at Enrico Fermi High, aptly named Miss Strict, has other ideas and with her regime of “Rules, Regulations and Respect” threatens to cancel the prom if Jonny is seen within the confines of her school. What ensues is a dramatic finale (no surprises there), a shocking piece of history revealed and Miss Strict becoming far more like Miss Sexy!The cast are, on the whole, excellent and bring countless energy to a production which takes a fair bit of time to really get going. To entice Sally Bankes to The Landor Theatre is quite an achievement and while not a big enough name to seduce people to a venue which is perhaps a little lost to the north of Clapham, she does a sterling job at driving some menace into the show. She is joined by the sleazy media tycoon Eddie Flagrante (Simon Cole) and their on stage chemistry almost brings the house down during “Expose” in the final act. Where Bankes and Cole excel, Jonathon Vickers disappoints as Jonny. His performance was so casual and vocally underpowered, it was almost impossible to hear him over the backing chorus and piano accompanying the score. A minor gripe, but a part which I felt really needed to be cast correctly in order to bring some backbone to the show.On the whole though, this is an enjoyable production; the design is simple yet strong – bright lighting and costume contrasted with a black and white magazine cover backdrop, and while the score is at times forgettable, Ian MacFarlane’s direction mixed with Grace Harrington’s inventive choreography ensures the performers bring most of the material to life. It’s hardly Sondheim or Schonberg, but Zombie Prom is good light entertainment.

Reviews by John C Kennedy

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The Blurb

Set in the fabulous '50s, ZOMBIE PROM tells the tale of sweet teenage girl Toffee, and her "rebel without a cause" boyfriend, Jonny. The two meet at Enrico Fermi High School and fall in love, but the tyrannical principal, Miss Strict intervenes, persuading young Toffee to break up with Jonny. Tortured by the betrayal, Jonny drives his motorcycle to the nearby Nuclear Power Plant and flings himself into a nuclear cooling tower. Toffee mourns the loss of her love, until Jonny returns, risen from the dead - AS A TEENAGE NUCLEAR ZOMBIE!

Will Toffee take Jonny back now that he’s a corpse? Will Miss Strict let Jonny finish school? Will the Senior Prom be cancelled? Find out in the UK Premiere of the Off-Broadway musical ZOMBIE PROM, a campy, rollicking, romp through America's "Atomic Age" from the writers of “THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK” and “THE FIX”.

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