Zombie theatre. Yes, you read correctly.
There’s a feeling that the piece, while flawed, is in capable hands.
Now this is a genre that is not only untapped, but in my opinion, horrifically neglected. Why would one not want to see Dawn of the Dead, Braindead, Evil Dead or even World War Z on stage?
Clearly this is something Bath Street Productions feel as well and the result is Infection, a simply staged theatre that attempts to end this indecent trend. Unfortunately for me, the piece was full of good ideas but something that seemed a little muddled in execution.
The play was about two brothers, Will (older) and Dom (younger) and their best friend, Sam (who is a girl) – celebrating Dom’s 21st birthday when an Invasion of the Body Snatchers-type situation begins. The story, as with any apocalypse film, is about the characters attempting to survive and beat the odds.
At the beginning I was very hopeful; the piece starts with blood and head bumps. It was peppered with light-hearted humour, some brilliant film references and a feeling that the actors enjoy being in it as much as I wanted to see it. Though there were some nerves, it set the scene terrifically and answered all of the things that all good horror fans want to know: What type of zombies are they? Where are they? What is their plan?
According to the blurb, the writer started out writing two plays, this being the one she loved and the other ‘considerably more serious and issue-driven’ play. I think that the serious issues have crept into the piece, whether intentionally or not, and do not quite sit with the premise of a zombie play. A zombie apocalypse is inherently ridiculous and as any zombie fan knows, you want to either be laughing maniacally at the sheer joy of cheesy lines and a decent head shot, or absolutely scared out of your wits. The piece, while flirting very successfully with both themes at the start, decided instead to go down the emotional, relationship-driven route.
Unhelped by a very confusing backwards and forwards timeline, which hindered any kind of significant character development, a serious twist is difficult to pull off at the best of times and I feared very hard to maintain. After a while the emotion became tedious, and I was left wondering where the fun went.
There’s a feeling that the piece, while flawed, is in capable hands. This, I hope, was just the first step in a long process, providing a solid starting point. I feel confident it could bear some fruit in the future, this young company just needs some time.