Theatre Thoughts: Night of the Living Dead Live

livingdeadliveEven though film is my main pastime, I still occasionally check out Toronto’s bustling theatre scene.  Usually I am attracted to productions that fit my genre-loving tastes, such as Evil Dead: The Musical and Ghost Stories.  In the same vein, this evening I checked out Night of the Living Dead Live, which is a stage adaptation of George A. Romero’s 1968 classic.  Even though the film is in the public domain, which resulted in a number of unauthorized knock-offs, the play was made with the full blessing of Romero, producer Russell Streiner, and writer John A. Russo, all of whom are credited as executive producers on the play.  I don’t usually write reviews for the plays I see, but since Night of the Living Dead Live is adaptation of a film, I figured that it would fit right in. Night of the Living Dead Live was co-created and produced by Christopher Harrison and Phil Pattison and was directed and co-written by Christopher Bond, who is best known as the co-creator of the hit show Evil Dead: The Musical.  In some ways, Night of the Living Dead Live has a similar overall feel to that previous production.  The play is very much a comedy and it pokes fun at various aspects of the original film, most humorously the comatose and damsel-in-distress nature of lead female Barbara.  The play is split into two acts, with the first act being a straight adaptation of the film, while the second act presents a number of alternate scenarios.  I don’t want to spoil the surprise of what these alternate takes of the story are, but I will say that they get increasingly ridiculous, leading to a very enjoyable finale. The play is staged in such a way to make it appear somewhat like the original black and white film.  This includes grey sets, props, and make-up on the actors.  The bulk of the play is performed on a single set made-up to look like the house from the film, though the action occasionally moved to other sets around the stage and there were even moments when the actors and zombies ran through the audience.  There was also a full zombie section in the audience, which groaned on cue.  It was a very simple, yet effective production. Overall, I can say that I highly enjoyed myself watching Night of the Living Dead Live.  The play is only running through Sunday, so if you are in the area, I would highly recommend checking it out!10 | LOVED IT