nytheatre.com review by Carissa Cordes
August 15, 2011
Zombie Wedding is a new story in the classic zombie genre. Paying tribute to legendary zombie director George Romero, the story takes place in Romero, Ohio during the '80s. Neil, a meek pharmacologist, has just come back from Haiti to discover the love of his life, Cat will be getting married to a self-involved car dealer, Keith. Cat asks Neil to go to a bar and bond with Keith and her little brother, Pat. At the bar Keith approaches a woman who bites him and turns him into a zombie. Trying to save Cat’s "perfect day," Neil gives Keith some voodoo powder, which tames the raging brain lust. Antics ensue throughout the wedding planning up until the big day.
The musical is presented as if it were a movie. Slides with a filmstrip cut-out lining the edges give a picture of each scene setting and a very large arch frames the slides…but only from the floor level. Sitting up a few rows the arch sliced through the slides. I think the show could have been presented without the slides and just a few flats. The script states locations very clearly and it was staged with furniture being placed in different areas of the stage. The musical itself opens in a very awkward scene that did not seem necessary, and the buildup for the zombie apocalypse is confusing. It was unclear to me that it was taking place in the '80s until well into the play, which is unfortunate because there were some jokes that would have made a lot more sense.
Despite these hiccups this pop musical mixes the romantic comedy and zombie genres fairly successfully for an entertaining 90 minutes. Wes Hart as Keith and Ryan Nearhoff as Neil are cast perfectly and present compelling characters. Wesley Tunison as Pat is a serious performer and a delight to watch. I would have loved to see more of Sarah Aili’s Deb, a very interesting character and a fun performance. Alison Lea Bender presents a straight ingénue as Cat, and Thomas Lyons fills in all of the various extra characters with hilarity. Wes Hart’s choreography is dynamic, especially in the number “Prescription for Pain.” Stephanie Cox-Williams's gore and makeup is especially satisfying.
Overall I’d encourage the zombie lover and fans of the B-movie genre to definitely see Zombie Wedding.