Night of the Living Dead Live Review

Pleasance Theatre, Islington – until 8 June 2019

Reviewed by Alexandra Sykes

5*****

Based on the film of the same name, Night of the Living Dead Live takes you back to 1968 and the zombie invasion.

The story starts with siblings Barbra (Mari McGinlay) and Jonny going to visit their father’s grave. Whilst in the grave yard the pair are attacked by the Living Dead. Barbra escapes but Jonny doesn’t and ends up as part of the Living Dead. Whilst escaping Barbra meets Ben (Ashley Samuels) and the pair hide out in an abandoned house, where Helen (Jennifer Harding) and husband Harry (Marc Pickering) are hiding in the cellar with their daughter Karen, and teenage couple Tom (Tama Phethean) and Judy (also played by Jennifer Harding).

The first half of the play up to the interval is the original story, with no survivors. This is commented on by chief of police Chief McClelland (Mike Bodie) and his sidekick Vince (also Phethean) where they come up with different scenarios as to how the group could have survived, including hiding out in the basement, which didn’t work as everyone turned on each other. The women being in charge, which didn’t work because they didn’t tell the men the plan. Someone sacrificing themselves, which didn’t work as everyone sacrificed themselves, and learning to work with each other,which included a song and dance routine about working together and trusting one a other, which didn’t work because McClelland shot them all. Meaning no matter what the group did, survival was not possible.

The scenery is impressive as it is the entrance hall to the abandoned house but later it acts as the cellar when the group try and hide down there. Any scene that is outside of the house, such as McClelland and
Vince talking to one an other is done behind a wall in the house which is removed to show the outside world. The group also joke that Judy is never around, and Helen even says she is entrusting her daughter to Judy, who she has just met, which raises a laugh from the audience.

The cast all have similar make up done to make it look like it is in black and white, like the original film, which adds to the horror aspect. Because of this, the outfits are all black, white and grey as well.

All in all a good night out with a few scary aspects, blood and gore and lots of laughs.

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