This weekend I saw Night of the Living Dead: The Play. For the first half, I was worried that what we were actually seeing was Night of the Living Dead: Just the Boring Parts. The lengthy “Barbara chased by the graveyard zombie” sequence at the beginning of the movie was cut way down for obvious reasons, and the doomed attempt to fill the truck with gasoline happens off-stage…but we DID get the entirety of Ben’s tedious monologue about how he arrived at the farmhouse.
But…it’s ZOMBIES! On stage! Eating people! And though it took a while to deliver the zombie flesh-eating mayhem, once it got there, the play delivered in a big way. Whatta finale! After it reached the spot where the film ends, I thought “Okay, this play has completely redeemed itself.” But then things took a complete shift in tone, and suddenly we were in a shamelessly silly comedy! The curtain call provided more entertainment value than the entire rest of the play! I’m not sure if this is part of the show itself, or just something that the Jobsite Theatre in Tampa came up with (so I won’t give it away), but it made me wish they’d taken a goofier tone with the rest of the show.
The last thing I saw at the Jobsite Theatre (Clive Barker’s History of the Devil) was much better, but I definitely got my money’s worth with Night of the Living Dead: The Play.
I repeat: Zombies! On stage! Eating people!