Night of the Living Dead - Live!
Updated: Sep 28, 2019
The first thing you notice immediately on entering the theatre is the impressive set which, while being 3D almost looks like a drawing through a creative mixture in the lines. The whole play is a monochromatic delight as the combination of the set, lighting and make-up recreates the look and feel of a 1960’s black and white horror movie. I see awards for set design and lighting heading their way.
The play itself is set in an abandoned house in the woods where strangers meet while they’re escaping from a zombie outbreak. The play’s opening sequence cleverly shows you the ending before cutting back to the beginning when people first arrive at the house. Through the two hours the play moves through several intricately interwoven narratives while not missing out on the opportunity to provide a few scares along the way. While being a spoof of zombie movies it stays true to the original even while it takes it on a different and unexpected turn.
After the opening sequence the first act starts off slowly and it takes a while to get into it’s stride. Some of the show needed to be tightened up and some editing is needed to keep the action flowing. That said, it still has some great elements, in particular a fantastic TV sequence which sends-up the whole genre perfectly.
The second act is where it really comes into it’s own as an original comedy. The pacing in the second is act is much improved and the narrative provides scope for the laughs to come thick and fast. And being based on a horror movie some of the grizzly parts are brought in to great effect, especially the eating of brains.
Part of the audience in this show are on the stage which could be difficult for the cast and distracting for the rest of the audience but the direction almost makes you forget that they’re there. When they are brought into the action it’s for great comic effect, in particular for when brains go flying.
There is a hugely talented and energetic cast who wholly embrace the silliness of the spoof and there is a stand out performance from Mark Pickering as a not so athletic and not so bright father. You see them relishing the roles and I feel they especially enjoyed unleashing the “splatter” on the audience.
Overall this is a fun evening with a bit of horror and a lot of comedy. There are solid performances within a great production and this gets a strong 3 Laura Michelle-Kelly rating.
It’s currently booking until June 8th and tickets can be bought here https://www.pleasance.co.uk/event/night-living-dead-live/performances