The spirit of 1950s sci-fi classics like Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers and best/worst of all Plan 9 From Outer Space lives on (and sings and dances) in James Valcq’s 1995 off-Broadway musical spoof Zombies From The Beyond, at long last getting a pitch-perfect Los Angeles Premiere by The Visceral Company.
Soviet-inspired ‘50s paranoia reigns supreme at the Milwaukee Space Center circa 1955 as all-American rocket scientist Trenton Corbett (Daniel Jimenez), hunky military man Rick Jones (Eric Sand), cute-and-peppy deli-livery boy Billy Krutzik (Alex Taber), stalwart Army bigwig Major Malone (Frank Blocker), the major’s brainy girl-next-door daughter Mary (Amelia Gotham), and snappy-talking, man-hungry secretary “Charlie” Osmanski (Lara Fisher) discover to their horror that that most terrifying of spacecraft, a Flying Saucer (!), has been seen hovering over the nearby Galaxy of Coiffures Beauty Salon.
Things take a turn for the worse when who should alight from said saucer but zaftig zombie queen Zombina (Alison England), sent From The Beyond to transform the entire male Earthling population into Zombie slaves. Her secret weapon? A coloratura soprano so earsplitting that it “zombifies” at first listen.
Valcq’s hilarious book lampoons every 1950s sci-fi cliché imaginable, its nutty plot propelled by a dozen-and-a-half tuneful Valcq songs that blend ‘50s Broadway with Grease-era rock.
Director Dan Spurgeon and his terrific triple-threat cast have clearly done their B-movie homework, and their deliciously deliberate overacting (Gotham’s in particular) could hardly be more better/worse. Sand scores high for his resonant vocals and muscular (albeit overdressed) torso, and tapper Taber’s phenomenal footwork in “Atomic Feet” earns deserved cheers. As for England, there may be no other local performer who can hit sky-high notes and be supremely divalicious in one breath.
Anna Safar’s snappy choreography, a splendid live band (Robert Finucane, Karmann Hillman, and Karoly Kiss), Pam Noles’ fabulous ‘50s (Earth and Alien) costumes, and Dawn V. Dudley’s wild-and-wacky wigs and makeup all earn high marks as do set and pops.
You don’t have to be a musical theater aficionado or 1950s sci-fi buff to find yourself enraptured by Zombies From The Beyond. Just be in the mood for a zombie-tastic time!
June 29, 2014