‘Zombie Town’ makes for an amusing evening of gore-lite fare


“Zombie Town: A Documentary Play” features, from left, Michelle Bellaver, Logan Wolfe and Matthew Lindsay playing multiple roles in the comedic telling of a zombie rampage in the town of Harwood, Texas.

Erica Brough/Staff photographer
Published: Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 10:50 a.m.

There’s good news and bad news about the upcoming Zombie Apocalypse.

Facts

‘Zombie Town: A Documentary Play’

What: Tim Bauer’s play about documentarians reconstructing the night zombies terrorized a Texas town
When: 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 5 and 8:30 p.m. Saturdays, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 3
Where: Hippodrome Theatre, 25 SE Second Place
Tickets: $30-$35, $25 for senior citizens, $15 for students
Info: 375-4477, www.thehipp.org

Good news: You will still be able to buy a Toyota to speed you on your way down the Highway to Hell.

Bad news: You’ll still have to pay off your college loans. There’s simply no escape from that fate worse then death.

In our popular culture there are basically two ways to spin zombies; for laughs or for gore. Here in Gainesville the Hippodrome Theatre is spinning strictly for laughs in its Halloween-season production of Tim Bauer’s “Zombie Town: A Documentary Play.”

Nothing scary about this apocalypse, save the appalling sight of the walking dead rocking out to Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog.” And let’s face it, when zombies make “yum-yum” noises and wave American flags while crouched behind tombstones horror is a pretty tough sell.

If you want a good Halloween fright, you’ll need to wait for the Hipp’s “Spooktacular” film fest beginning Oct. 30, when you can sate your bloodlust on such classics as “The Shining” and “Night of the Living Dead.” In the meantime, would it kill you to grab a few laughs at the expense of the rhythmically challenged dearly departed of “Zombie Town”?

“Zombie Town” is Harwood, Texas, a fly-speck of a berg out in the middle of who knows where. And the dead of Harwood have risen from their graves because of who knows why. Maybe a radiation leak. Maybe because Harwood sits on a “Hellmouth,” on the border between Hell and earth. Maybe because Harwood itself is so dead that only the dead can stand living there.

Doesn’t matter, really. What’s important is that members of a San Francisco theater collective have arrived to interview survivors for a docu-play about the ZA (Memo to other theater collectives: If you want the show to go on, don’t let your grant writer get his brain eaten.)

While zombies lurch (and occasionally prance) in the mist-filled graveyard, townies tell and act out hilariously harrowing tales of survival to their increasingly incredulous interviewers (Memo No. 2: Never interview a zombie to get the other side of the story. No good can come from asking: “Can you tell us why you feel compelled to eat people?”).

“Zombie Town’s” ensemble cast largely consists of familiar Hippodrome regulars, most of them stepping adroitly in and out of multiple roles. Michelle Bellaver, who dazzled in the recent production of “Don’t Dress For Dinner,” is equally engaging as (among others) Didi, a bubble-headed student who dishes out fashion advice even as she dodges the undead. “Why did I have to wear 4-inch heels to a graveyard?” she groans.

And Logan Wolfe plays (among others) Slash Murphy like he was born to the role of small town miscreant and resident hippy. “He’s not that ugly and he can buy beer legally,” muses Didi of her hook-up of the moment turned fellow zombie stalker.

Also standing out in this able cast is Matthew Lindsay as (among others) the acid-tongued accountant who can’t decide what disgusts him more, the zombies or Slash and Didi.

All in all, “Zombie Town: A Documentary Play” makes for a thoroughly amusing evening of gore-lite fare. And there is even a moral to this tale of the dead eating the brain-dead: “You can’t argue with a corpse.”

And really, why would you want to? Especially with Halloween lurking right around the corner.

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