How To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse at the 2010 Brighton Fringe

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

Contesting Brighton Pavilion in Thursday’s general election is a candidate for the Cure party, the Citizens for Undead Rights and Equality fighting on the under-represented pro-zombie ticket. Unfortunately, their real-life manifesto is far wittier than anything the team behind How To Fight A Zombie Apocalypse could come up with.

This is an improv show thinly disguised as a seminar on how to combat the inevitable rising of the undead in brain-eating retribution, led by the super-slick Dr Dale, in impenetrable shades and unconvincing America accent, and backed up by a khaki-clad survivalist, geeky scientist and camp idiot on some sort of government placement.

The talk covers such topics as ‘what is a zombie’, ‘what sounds does it make’ and ‘how to kill it’ with few surprises. The lecture is frequently opened out to the floor, with audience members suggesting, for example, everyday items that could be used as weapons to slay the living dead, or safe havens from the ravenous hordes.

The scenarios are then acted out, all a bit desperately. The joy of improv is that it can go anywhere the performers choose, but here the formula is so restrictive the scenes end up predictable. How do you kill a zombie with a wine glass? Well, pretty much as you’d expect… And the less said about the martial arts poses the team struck based on suggestions of animals they should be based on the better.

The audience were frequently wittier than the performers, although a couple who were a lot less funnier than they thought they were, were skilfully put in their place by the authoritative Dr Dale. He proved adept at bantering with this sold-out crowd, so it’s a shame such skills were restricted by the stifling, repetitive format of the set pieces.

This might have been an interesting original idea, but ironically, the show dragged on until all life was sucked out of it, until it was an empty but still functioning shell that kept coming at you, seemingly unstoppably.

They make no bones about the fact their research has been limited to zombie movies and Wikipedia, but most modern horror films of this genre have an air of self-parody that was unfortunately absent here. Do yourself a favour and stay home with the DVD of Shaun Of The Dead instead.

Review date: 3 May 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Brighton Komedia

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