Confession: I’m not a zombie gal. I tried to watch The Walking Dead, possibly one of the best zombie TV shows ever, and I did several weeks in a row… but I just couldn’t continue. Confession: I hate, HATE audience participation shows. It must be because I’m shy?!? I couldn’t tell you why, but the fear of GOD is in me when I think I could be called/dragged on stage. I’m a target, no idea why, but it always happens to me. So you can imagine my preconceived notions of how the review of How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse (currently running at Theatre Asylum in Hollywood through Feb 24th) is going to go. I wanted to hand them an “I’m sorry for the bad review that isn’t even your fault” note before entering the theatre. This situation is a disaster waiting to happen because this isn’t my cup of tea, folks… but I had to put on my jury duty face and try to be impartial. Here’s how it went:

I walked in the theatre, was given a program (with strange large letters printed inside and on the back) and a blank name tag with a pen. The name tag instantly induced the fight or flight response in me. Luckily my theatre-watchin’ partner-in-crime offered her name up to be put on my name tag. She’d go up on stage in my place, if push came to shove. Whew. The show started a bit late to a semi-filled house… and I was instantly amused. It was truly a faux seminar-style instructional geared at surviving a zombie apocalypse. Why wouldn’t it be?

The leader of the seminar, Dr. Bobert Dougash, (really, really ably played by actor/director Patrick Bristow) was joined by a team of zombie surviving experts including a doctor (Jayne Entwistle), a military man (Tom Ashworth), and more-than-slightly-slow, no one knows why he was deemed an expert, nephew (Chris Sheets). The experts were assembled to aide the audience in improving our survival skills, each providing their own perspective. The (pretty stinking funny) seminar is focused around the teachings and expertise of Dr. Dale Seslick and his (real life) book “Dr. Dale’s Zombie Dictionary: the A-Z Guide to Staying Alive”. Yes, my friends, this means you can go to Amazon and study up, to assure your success at being the “survivor” of the seminar by giving the correct answers to the questions posed to the audience. That’s what the big letters printed in the program are for, multiple choice answers… But seriously, don’t you have better things to do? And if you are the zombie geek you think you are, you should know the answers anyway. This (faux) seminar covers such topics as: How to recognize a zombie, how one becomes infected, safe
places to go during the apocalypse, methods of killing a zombie using basic household goods, etc. etc.

Bottom-line… this audience participation-hating; zombie unenthusiast was thoroughly amused by this show. How is this possible? A humorous cast has been assembled in a show that zips along. Hooray! There were some segments that worked better than others. And surely a bit of the success of the show would be dependent on the audience and their own enthusiasm, but it’s a solid show, worthy of its long (certainly for Los Angeles) run and accolades. The shining event of the evening is when the audience is asked for suggestions of scenarios that the experts would then act out. Yes, it’s classic improv and most certainly what these performers are brilliant at. This show is an adaptation of the popular UK show sharing the same title… and it has been translated with the combined effort of the performers past and present along with the presenters, Combined Artform and After Dark Entertainment, to Los Angeles, well. Ben Muir’s original UK script is now LA gold.

When you find yourself in need of a silly evening, go check it out. It’s a short, sweet, good time if you aren’t into zombies… surely it’s super duper fun if you are.

Theatre Asylum
6320 Santa Monica Blvd.
Hollywood, Ca 90038
Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00
Sunday at 3:00
Extended thru Feb 24th
Tickets $15 (or found on discount sites, for well… a discount)http://www.theatreasylum-la.com/

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