NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA – Hollywood Happiness’ own Lara Fisher is quite the convincing zombie in the West Coast Premiere of “The Revenants” by the Visceral Theatre Company.
The play, which runs about 8o minutes without intermission, takes place exclusively in a basement where two married couples, half of each now zombie-bitten, take refuge against the apocalypse. Not exactly a premise that’s going to make the AFI 100 Most Inspirational List, but nonetheless a thought-provoking show from a clearly up-and-coming company here in Los Angeles.
Visceral’s core production staff, headed by Artistic Director Dan Spurgeon, are all transplants to L.A. and it shows in a good way by their bones and sinew, fundamental approach to theatre with “bite” (pardon the pun). The “Revenants” played to great reviews in Chicago, with playwright Scott T. Barsotti being compared to the likes of Chekhov and George Romero, the horror director, rolled into one.
The acting is superb, with fine performances from all four actors who effortlessly hold the dramatic tension under Spurgeon’s detailed direction. The set design by Christine Bartsch and Michael Sadler as well as the makeup and stage effects by Justin and Melissa Meyer also are strong points of the production.
The Whitmore-Lindley Theatre itself is just creepy enough to set the tone while “sardined-in” audience members sip red wine and await the house opening.
The play itself is relentlessly paced from the opening scene — which is a barrage on the senses, and very realistic — to the quieter moments (if you can have such a thing with zombies moaning for blood the whole show) where the two surviving humanoids explore the questions of what to do now.
If you like psychological thrillers and have a stomach for gore, I recommend “The Revenants” at the Visceral Theatre Co. playing through Saturday the 19th at the Whitmore-Lindley in NoHo. www.thevisceralcompany.com