You may recall I ran an interview with Daryl Griffith, writer and creator of Zombies the Musical, earlier in the week.
I was also asked along to a showcase matinee for industry people, which ran alongside the three public performances. As it was a showcase – limited props, etc – this won’t be a review, but just a few thoughts on what I found to be a very funny show with definite potential.
The songs have musical cues which hark back to many influences: I was reminded of Little Shop of Horrors, Spamalot, Grease and “Beauty School Drop Out”, and in the frankness of some of the filthiest innuendoes to hit a stage, The Book of Morman.
The score is excellent, and in the performers I found that Joanna Woodward as Emily particularly stood out, especially in her solo number “I Have A Tingle”. She’s in love with the self-centred boss Gerald (Stephen Rahman-Hughes) but there are a couple of twists, one involving a lab explosion and a rush of zombie attacks.
There’s a lot of potential for this show to either stay small-budget and cultish (using those screens to tell us what we might see if there was more money), or to go much bigger and flashier, getting those location scenes and big dance numbers in.
I was left amused and impressed by what was achieved in a short run of rehearsal by a talented cast, and if a couple of things don’t yet work – the explosion was a bit confusing, and a duet in zomboid voices wasn’t quite there – there’s much to recommend it. Oscar the mortuary’s Igor figure (Joshua Tonks) and his sparkly tights, for one.
If and when this is developed into a full show, you may well love it. Now and again I thought about Eugenius, which had so much success in The Other Palace’s full-sized theatre, and even the humble beginnings of the Rocky Horror phenomenon.
With a bit of love and polish, Zombies the Musical might yet join the ranks of the cult classic.