Zombie Broads at Factory Theater asks the question what would happen if there was an actual zombie apocalypse and how it affects the lives of a family and book club, who are supposedly prepared for it.
Ultimately they don’t fare so well when everyone they know and love becomes infected with the zombie disease caused by a well-intentioned anti-aging skin cream. However, unlike the ill-fated characters, the play itself fared very well in a fast paced comedy/drama/horror environment. The dialogue was quick and snappy, which made it easy to become engaged in the plot as it moved between the different characters and settings: the family living off the grid in their zombie-proof bunker, the scientist, her assistant, and staff working in the lab, and the streets of New Mexico as it becomes overtaken by zombies.
Believable and Fantasy Blend
Zombie Broads has a nice blend between believable every day moments and the fantastic catastrophe of the zombie apocalypse. Cameron Feagin plays Phyllis, the scientist responsible for creating the zombie cream, with a duality where she wants to win a Nobel Prize, but that thankfully doesn’t overshadow her want to also make the world a better place where no one grows old.
Elise Spoerlein plays the daughter, Shelby, living in the bunker where she believes her parents are too overprotective. However, when the time comes, Spoerlein brings out Shelby’s tenacity to try and save her life as well as her parent’s by fighting as many as five zombies at a time.
Zombie Broads Fight Choreography
It was this fight choreography that stole the show because how could you expect a zombie apocalypse without any accompanying fight scenes. Fight choreographer, Matt Engle, employed the use of both quick-action fighting with guns, katanas, and hatchets taped to shovels alongside slow-motion movement as well.
These slow motion action scenes were aided by the ensemble members, who were used in a deliberately obvious and farcical way. They became a car for a cleaning lady, a blood squirter and grenade tosser during fights, and a lift for a book club member being tossed across the stage.
Recommended, Except for Faint of Heart
This play is not for those who faint at the sight of fake blood, because there is quite a lot of it used when the zombies start biting. But, even if you’re only slightly faint-hearted and can stomach a little blood, this play won’t be too horrific for you. Zombie Broads is first and foremost a comedy with a mix of drama, a touch of horror, and ends with the question of when does science go too far. It has just enough farce that you won’t be scared out of your mind, but just scary enough to wonder if the zombie apocalypse could be that easy to create.
Now - November 26, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm.
Special Halloween performance Monday October 31 at 8pm.
Factory Theater, 1623 Howard Street, Chicago, IL 60626
Visit The Factory Theater website or call OvationTix customer service, 866-811-4111
Photos: Michael Courier
An excerpt of this review appeared in Theatre in Chicago.