Fringe 2013: Brains The Zombie Musical review

 If you’re looking to check out a zombie shindig at the fringe festival, think long and hard about that inclination. I’m sure there must be another show that also intrigues you, and whatever that show is, it can’t be as painful to watch as Brains The Zombie Musical.

I know that when it comes to a niche you love, you might be willing to dial back your expectations if it means you’ll get to experience something that panders to you bit – although I’m not sure you can call the zombie genre a niche anymore. 

What I do know is that, niche or not, when you stuff too many people on too small a stage and fail to sufficiently mic the leads in a musical that has about as much lyrical wit as the deranged beasts the show’s named after, you’ve got yourself a recipe for a catastrophe, and that’s assuming the other pieces of your pockmarked puzzle even fit together.

Brains is  about a young couple, and a scientist and her son who decide to vacation on an island that aptly christened “Zombie Island.” They head to island, get overrun by zombies, barricade themselves in a shelter, and then sing about zombie shooting methodology, zombie vaccinations, and even undead romance. It sounds like a great formula for a campy fringe production, but some of the worst technical execution, and performer-skill I’ve ever seen at this festival propel Brains way over the fine line that needs to be toed if you want camp to work, and firmly into the realm of painful-to-sit-through.

Don’t see Brains – it isn’t fun, and it isn’t worth your money

Frequent feedback from the microphones obscured any slim chance you might’ve had in catching one of the actors’ mumbled lines, and when they finally did come through, their delivery was flat and accents of both the tourist and the island locals felt phoney and forced.

A very choice few of the musical’s songs might have been passable if I had closed my eyes, but on top of the persistent audio issues that plagued the rest of the show, there was scarcely a moment when the lighting was correctly hitting any of the important players on stage. Actually, I’m not sure the lights in the bar-venue were ever properly hung to serve anyone in this show. When I managed to see a zombie, I couldn’t hear it, and when I managed to hear the horde, the lights had them shrouded in shadows.

Don’t see Brains. It isn’t fun. It isn’t worth your money. And it definitely isn’t put together by a group of “creative geniuses.” Stay away.

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