Amid the excited rustle of the complimentary ponchos in the ‘Splash Zone’, the show immediately bursts into a musical number and the energy from the cast radiates through the audience. The songs are pitch perfect and comedy lines, both musical and in dialogue, are delivered with perfect timing. The front rows are doused with fake blood and various other fluids throughout the show, and if you choose not to sit in the Splash Zone then you are severely missing out. The familiar macabre score from the 1985 film underlines the musical numbers, somehow fitting perfectly with dancing living-dead chorus lines, harrowing solos about the ideal basement and an impromptu decapitation tango.
It’s difficult to picture anyone but Jeffrey Combs playing Herbert West, but Graham Skipper has got the same intensity and mania in his eyes that make the character. Equal to West’s intensity, Dr. Hill’s (Jesse Merlin) camped up sleaze make him a truly despicable pantomime-esque villain. Of course, the biggest name on the programme is George Wendt (Norm from Cheers) as the Dean of the Medical School and his performance as a lobotomised zombie is not to be overlooked, but the entirety of the show is of such a high standard, the ‘oh, hey, look who it is’ factor isn’t required to hold the audiences attention but an added bonus.
It goes without saying that with buckets-loads of fake blood, stuffed animal cruelty and the odd blue scene here and there, this show is certainly not for kids. If you do sit in the front row, probably best not to wear your favourite cocktail dress because not even the complimentary poncho will protect you from the incredible levels of gore thrown into your lap. It is fantastically messy and you must go!
Re-Animator the Musical
Assembly George Square Theatre,
1– 27 August (not 6, 13 & 20th), 22.40
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