Playwright: Aaron Middlemiss
Director: Steff Bishop Lampman
Cast: Laura Ellis, Iain Lacourt, Lila Hunt, Kristi Boulton, Matt
Moore, Erik Canaria, Margaret Lintott, Tyler Brent, Andrew Noble, John
Migliore, Marty Chenette, Steven Fotheringham, Bryan Fotheringham, Meaghan O’Connor, Katlyn Alcock
DISCLAIMER: About 4 or 5 of the cast were classmates when I was a McMaster Theatre and Film Student back in 2003 and 2004. Also the stage Manager and playwright was in my venue with his productions in 2006 and 2008 when I was a venue tech. The rest of the company I have no connection to.
Review by: Brian Morton
Zombie hordes are taking over the world one bite at a time, and run directly into a wedding planner reality TV show incongruously collide in Brampton high school teacher Aaron Middlemass’s excellent comedy BRIDEZILLA VS THE APOCALYPSE which ended my first day at the Hamilton Fringe.
Featuring a cast of 15, this is one of the largest productions seen to date in the festival. Typically Fringe plays are one or two person shows. This is certainly not the case here.
According to the promotional literature, the show is described as a “Zombie ROM-COM” – I can certainly appreciate the love and careful detail that went into recreating the world of the undead – George Romero could not have known when he gave the world NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD in 1968, how great an influence his low budget indie film would have on popular culture. The TV show THE WALKING DEAD and films such as 28 DAYS LATER, ZOMBIE-LAND and WARM BODIES have cemented these tropes into the mainstream.
The play begins with a brilliantly shot film clip that shows us a single zombie roaming about in front of several Hamilton landmarks. It also presents the credits for the play.
When the action starts we meet Olivia an under paid over harassed wedding planner who has to fill in for a colleague who has failed to show up for a wedding. Matt Moore plays a stressed out videographer, who is shoot scenes for a reality TV show on difficult brides to be. “I need more close-ups guys!”
All the while there is a omnipresent sense of forbidding – that things are not quite right. “Why are all the Tim Horton’s closed?”
As the wedding party arrives Olivia discovers that she has had a past relationship with the groom. “Awkward!”
The plays structure keeps taking us back and forth from Olivia’s interior monologues about her fears stresses and dreams weaved back and forth with straightforward dramatic scenes between the various characters – on the whole this works.
More problematic though were several “phone conversations” with off stage characters – while i understand the need to double some parts with actors who also play zombies – it would have been better to have videoed the other end of – just to give us something to focus on other then the harassed Olivia.
It would have been better that the onstage characters had someone to work off of I think.
These small notes aside there was much to like in this local genre based comedy – and the sheer dedication of its large cast for whom it was obviously a labour of love was inspiring.
There were several memorable performances in this show including Tyler Brent’s Uncle Harry, Erik Caneria’s zombie bitten “best man” Brad, and perpetual doormat Kristi Boulton. Matt Moore, Iain LeCourt and “crazy bride from hell” Lila Hunt also do excellent work. Having said that this production really is an ensemble show and it is perhaps unfair to single out individual performances.
Filled with clever one liners, and silly bits of Zombie attack chaos and fight choreography – The blood and gore does indeed fly in this production. If you like Romantic comedies tinged with end of the world tropes, this is CLEARLY the show in the festival for you!