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Review: Night Of The Living Dead Live!

Night of the Living Dead Live! at the Pleasance is a unique theatrical experience. Audience members can enjoy the show from the safety of the stalls or bravely venture up on stage to sit in the ‘splatter zone’ amongst the performers. I enthusiastically chose the latter. Carrie didn’t exactly make being up on stage covered in blood look like a treat, but I’m never one to pass up an immersive experience. We were all provided with boiler suits to protect our clothes from the ‘gore’ and also allow us to blend in with the grayscale colour scheme for the set. This was not entirely welcome on an unseasonably hot day but there’s nothing like being surrounded by flesh eating monsters to put things in perspective.
The Canadian production is the only one officially licensed by the Romero estate and leans more towards comedy than horror, increasingly so as the performance goes on. The plot is loosely based on Romero’s original work and sees six characters trapped in a Pennsylvania farmhouse trying to escape the army of ghouls (Romero never referred to them as ‘zombies’ despite arguably birthing the film genre) who surround them. Heroic Ben, nervous Barbra, bickering husband and wife, Harry and Helen and young lovers, Tom and Judy frantically try to work out a plan to evade the undead, relentlessly squabbling over the best way to do so. As they meet their untimely end, a wise-cracking police chief sadly remarks on their demise and suggests how they might have done things differently to remain alive.
Act 2 takes this concept and veers away from the original movie to show how the characters’ fates might have differed if they had made alternative choices. Kind of like one of those ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ stories (if they had all ended in certain death). Act 2 definitely showed a tonal shift from horror to comedy as the situations the characters found themselves in grew increasingly ludicrous and scenes were played for laughs as opposed to scares. The performance seemed almost improvised at points and descended into farce that was highly entertaining and yet may disappoint die-hard fans of the original wanting to witness some genuine scares. Indeed, I was yet to be properly ‘splattered’ by gore at this point and starting to resent the presence of the boiler suit. 
Being up on stage is highly recommended both to see the background scenes and character expressions in more detail and to feel properly immersed in the action. Only for productions like this that allow it, of course. Set up a deck chair in the middle of The Mousetrap and they’ll probably ask you to leave. 
Culminating in a wildly enthusiastic musical number, the dismemberment of one character sharply swung us back to horror as I got the gore I’d been promised and the boiler suit came into its own. The cast truly throw everything they’ve got into the performances and the spirit of fun and fervour is undeniable. Don’t go expecting a faithful rendition of the original but appreciate it for the feisty, outlandish spectacle that it is. 
Night of the Living Dead Live! is playing at the Pleasance Theatre until 8th June 2019. Book tickets here. 
 
Night of the Living Dead Live! at the Pleasance is a unique theatrical experience. Audience members can enjoy the show from the safety of the stalls or bravely venture up on stage to sit in the ‘splatter zone’ amongst the performers. I enthusiastically chose the latter. Carrie didn’t exactly make being up on stage covered in blood look like a treat, but I’m never one to pass up an immersive experience. We were all provided with boiler suits to protect our clothes from the ‘gore’ and also allow us to blend in with the grayscale colour scheme for the set. This was not entirely welcome on an unseasonably hot day but there’s nothing like being surrounded by flesh eating monsters to put things in perspective.
The Canadian production is the only one officially licensed by the Romero estate and leans more towards comedy than horror, increasingly so as the performance goes on. The plot is loosely based on Romero’s original work and sees six characters trapped in a Pennsylvania farmhouse trying to escape the army of ghouls (Romero never referred to them as ‘zombies’ despite arguably birthing the film genre) who surround them. Heroic Ben, nervous Barbra, bickering husband and wife, Harry and Helen and young lovers, Tom and Judy frantically try to work out a plan to evade the undead, relentlessly squabbling over the best way to do so. As they meet their untimely end, a wise-cracking police chief sadly remarks on their demise and suggests how they might have done things differently to remain alive.
Act 2 takes this concept and veers away from the original movie to show how the characters’ fates might have differed if they had made alternative choices. Kind of like one of those ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ stories (if they had all ended in certain death). Act 2 definitely showed a tonal shift from horror to comedy as the situations the characters found themselves in grew increasingly ludicrous and scenes were played for laughs as opposed to scares. The performance seemed almost improvised at points and descended into farce that was highly entertaining and yet may disappoint die-hard fans of the original wanting to witness some genuine scares. Indeed, I was yet to be properly ‘splattered’ by gore at this point and starting to resent the presence of the boiler suit. 
Being up on stage is highly recommended both to see the background scenes and character expressions in more detail and to feel properly immersed in the action. Only for productions like this that allow it, of course. Set up a deck chair in the middle of The Mousetrap and they’ll probably ask you to leave. 
Culminating in a wildly enthusiastic musical number, the dismemberment of one character sharply swung us back to horror as I got the gore I’d been promised and the boiler suit came into its own. The cast truly throw everything they’ve got into the performances and the spirit of fun and fervour is undeniable. Don’t go expecting a faithful rendition of the original but appreciate it for the feisty, outlandish spectacle that it is. 
Night of the Living Dead Live! is playing at the Pleasance Theatre until 8th June 2019. Book tickets here. 
 

Night of the Living Dead Live! at the Pleasance is a unique theatrical experience. Audience members can enjoy the show from the safety of the stalls or bravely venture up on stage to sit in the ‘splatter zone’ amongst the performers. I enthusiastically chose the latter. Carrie didn’t exactly make being up on stage covered in blood look like a treat, but I’m never one to pass up an immersive experience. We were all provided with boiler suits to protect our clothes from the ‘gore’ and also allow us to blend in with the grayscale colour scheme of the set. The suit was not entirely welcome on an unseasonably hot day but there’s nothing like being surrounded by flesh eating monsters to put things in perspective.

The Canadian production is the only one officially licensed by the Romero estate and leans more towards comedy than horror, increasingly so as the performance goes on. The plot is loosely based on Romero’s original work and sees six characters trapped in a Pennsylvania farmhouse trying to escape the army of ghouls (Romero never referred to them as ‘zombies’, despite arguably birthing the film genre) who surround them. Heroic Ben, nervous Barbra, bickering husband and wife, Harry and Helen and young lovers, Tom and Judy frantically try to work out a plan to evade the undead, relentlessly squabbling over the best way to do so. The tone of Act 1 is tense and suspenseful and being up on stage only heightens this. I spent most of it fearing that a ghoul was going to burst in behind me and raw instinct would kick in as I entered fight-or-flight mode and bludgeoned the actor with my chair. Thankfully, as far as I remember, this didn't happen. As the characters do meet their untimely end, a wise-cracking police chief sadly remarks on their demise and suggests how they might have done things differently to remain alive. 

Act 2 takes this concept and veers away from the original movie to show how the characters’ fates might have differed if they had made alternative choices. Kind of like one of those ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ stories (if they had all ended in certain death). Act 2 definitely showed a tonal shift from horror to comedy as the situations the characters found themselves in grew increasingly ludicrous and scenes were played for laughs as opposed to scares. The performance seemed almost improvised at points and descended into farce that was highly entertaining in its frenetic nature yet may disappoint die-hard fans of the original wanting to witness some genuine frights. Indeed, I was yet to be properly ‘splattered’ by gore at this point and starting to resent the presence of the boiler suit. 

Being up on stage is highly recommended both to see the background scenes and character expressions in more detail and to feel properly immersed in the action. Only for productions like this that allow it, of course. Set up a deck chair in the middle of The Mousetrap and they’ll probably ask you to leave. 

Culminating in a wildly enthusiastic musical number, the dismemberment of one character sharply swung us back to horror as I got the gore I’d been promised and the boiler suit came into its own. The cast truly throw everything they’ve got into the performances and the spirit of fun and fervour is undeniable. Don’t go expecting a faithful rendition of the original but appreciate it for the feisty, outlandish spectacle that it is. 

Night of the Living Dead Live! is playing at the Pleasance Theatre until 8th June 2019. Book tickets here.