Claiming to raise the bar for the Victorian Zombie Comedy Musical genre, Famished is a show clearly inspired by Monty Python, but also tipping its top hat to Five Go Mad In Dorset and Oscar Wilde.
Heroic explorer, Henry Forbes (Steven Shapland), returns from Borneo aboard the good ship Bagel to 1880's London as a Zombie, and then proceeds to infect the city. What follows is a madcap romp through some of funniest scenes seen on the Fringe in a decade.
The grotesque characters that inhabit this world are riotously drawn. There's Annie (Katie Burnetts) who shuffles on stage dishevelled, looks the audience straight in the eye and says Fresh Whore?. The evil moustachioed geniuses Dr Corvus (Will Allen) and Mr Gray (Ryan Beange), who make a comic duo worthy of their own TV series. Lady Avery (Laura Forbes) in a parody of Lady Bracknell opposite Colonel Avery (Jon Campling), who is a throwback to the prejudices of the British Empire, and ever certain of the threat of the blacks, jews, women and, er, the dolphins. Avery's daughter, Amelia (Izzy Harris), who is intending to marry, the now living-dead, Henry Forbes, but seems to take a shine to Mr Gray instead. There's narration, of sorts, from old crone, Sila Grimshaw (Lucy Moses), and a final animation featuring a giant otter that completely floored me.
The script is so sharp it could cut a squirrel in half, and the comic timing brave but brilliant. Zombie barbershop with choreography that pokes fun at Thriller; clever little asides at My Fair Lady; moustaches that you could hide a family car in. It's surreal and absurd, but incredibly funny.
But most of all, what made this show for me was watching a cast that clearly loved what they were doing, such was the enthusiasm gushing from every pore.