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A CurtainUp Phildelphia Review
Zombies. . .With Guns!
It is post-zombie-apocalyptic Philadelphia, and philosophies clash in the living-people's base camp. Lane (Terry Brennan), a Zombie shooter, insists on guns. You'd probably rather run into a ragtag zombie on a side street late at night than encounter scary, toned Lane.
Rent (Kyle Yackoski), a pacifist, argues that they shouldn't shoot them, but should open their hearts to the reanimated corpses. Bree (Lauren Harries) is as tough as Lane and a crack shot with a rifle, but she'll shoot only if necessary. She holds out no hope for them, figuring they'll die and soon, one way or another. Young endearing Ben (Arlen Hancock), taking Rent's side, doesn't want a gun. These guys can't agree in the Cheesesteak wars either.
Those who love the strategic pandemonium, athleticism, clamor and comic touches of Tribe of Fools fights will not be disappointed. In the heat of a vicious skirmish between agile, acrobatic combatants, gentle Rent lip-synchs Bob Marley's reassuring song, "Every Little Thing Is Gonna Be All Right."
On the Zombie side, a newbie zombie is taught how to lurch, and schooled in Spoken Zombish. Comic zombies (Zachary Chiero, Tara Demmy, and a new zombie) perform exuberant, eccentric dances choreographed by Chiero. "Put on a Happy Face," for example, is a dead-on winner. [Is it ok to call the Living Dead adorable? I didn't think so.] When the zombies entertain themselves by individually re-enacting their demises, many in the audience seem to understand the miming. While I don't follow it all, I catch the drift.
Finally the living people engage the zombies in a Cosenza-choreographed last desperate battle, and our problems and sympathies lie on both sides. And there's a reckoning of who did what to whom and when and why.
The authors, actors, director and the set, props, costume, lighting, and makeup artists have it all figured out. A lot of imagination went into this crazy thing. At first Paul Kuhn's set design had me faked out: The back wall behind the performance space looked like a derelict, wrecked wall. (The building is old, but not that ruined.)
Tribe of Fools doesn't fool around. Every carefree thing is calculated, timed, and taut, down to the last clever, lighthearted detail. And there's always room for heart. No wonder Philly loves them back.
Tonight's guest Philebrity Zombie, all done up in blood and zombie accoutrements, is KC Macmillan, director, dramaturg, and associate artistic director of Lantern Theater Company.