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The Corpses Come Out at Night.

October 13, 2015

AttackOfTheRottingCorpses2015@ZJU_PostcardZombie Joe’s Underground Theatre does zombies right! In this second staging I’ve seen of Attack of the Rotting Corpses you’ll be jumping with laughter and fear.

This time round Josh T. Ryan (director) bends the story round our funny bones, adding his unique musical fourth wall asides to the story. Josh is great with skirting that fourth wall, pairing an excellent music selection with brilliant stage direction. Rotting Corpses is still a horror story, that core holds true. What Josh does however is add a lighthearted feel to it, akin to Sean of the Dead, and Evil Dead. Only far better, more visceral, there is realness to this lighthearted nature, not forced like the movies.

The characters have a vital energy, a spark of life, this is something Josh is excels at as a director. Josh brings characters to life through his cast, like a necromancer. For a story about zombies, it’s a very lively cast. You can tell when a cast enjoys their roles, and the story at large, there is an energy in their performance.AttackOfTheRottingCorpses2015@ZJU_PHOTO-2a

The core story is the same, yet the cast puts an entirely different spin on it. There is a bromance between Vic (Josh T. Ryan) and Mack (Tyler Koster). Tyler gives Mack a nervous energy that draws you in, compels you to feel sorry for the poor guy. Perhapse I should start from the beginning. Rotting Corpses takes place in a luxury, full concierge town house complex, that has the misfortune of being the center of a zombie outbreak. The use of such a narrow setting, allows the story to center on the characters, and there are characters. Mack’s story draws us forward, but it’s his interactions with the guests of the luxury condos show us the walls society has developed. What happens when the social niceties are removed, when the artificial constructs that hold back our raw primal natures? From the onset of Rotting Corpses these walls are crumbling, what happens when a zombie plague tears the last bricks down?

Liz (Vanessa Cate) shows what happens when lust is let loose. Every time Liz comes into scene a sexy rock score plays, marking her character as unique within the story. Of all the zombies, Liz has the most control, she’s not ravenous for flesh, well flesh of a different kind maybe. Doug (Davin Wyn Harris) shows both gluttony and sloth, living in a luxury condo he lives off the cheapest food, and dresses in disposable underwear. Doug goes for quantity over quality. The full range of vices and sins are represented in Rotting Corpses, but I’m not here to spoil your adventure. I truly wish I the space to talk about every member of this amazing cast, but my review would grow long in the tooth. Suffice to say, this cast is amazing, every member adds to the sum total.

I’ve talked about the humour in this version, Josh uses musical cues and fourth wall asides to bring humour into the story. It’s still very much a horror story, a B movie come to life, pulling you back to your childhood watching late night monster flicks. The tone is dark and red, excellent lighting cues, sensual with enough bite to make your breath catch once or twice. It’s not all scares and jumps, there is gore too, well done stomach squirming visceral scenes. Attack of the Rotting Corpses is not for the faint of heart, yet well worth it for those with a steely spine. It’s the perfect Halloween season horror show to go see. Worth seeing more than once, as I’ve heard tell some of the characters will change their archetype, and the cast will shuffle around, keeping the performance fresh for a long Halloween run.

Attack of the Rotting Corpses (Written by Zombie Joe, Directed by Josh T. Ryan) runs Sundays at 7:30 through November 1st at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre.

AttackOfTheRottingCorpses2015@ZJU_PHOTO-1

For more information please visit: www.zombiejoes.com

To see a more story oriented review, my review of the last staging can be found here: https://spencercotter.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/trapped-in-a-zombie-movie/

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