“ A musical comedy written by Andy Evans. „
You should know what you're getting yourself into when you attend a zombie musical, and I can confidently state that Fusion's performance of Andy Evans' 'Chomp' at the Edinburgh Fringe did not let me down. After all, my expectations were safely on the extreme side of low.
I'll get it out of the way and state that Andrew Lloyd Webber and whoever else is involved in producing terrible yet inexplicably popular West End and Broadway musicals have nothing to worry about. Although the writing is competent and campy in all the right places, and Jack Pudsey's music is tolerable at best (and only mildly irritating at worst), we don't have a cult hit on our hands.
The young performers sing over a backing track that's subject to the usual technical difficulties expected of a ramshackle festival show (the CD cut out at one point and the singers admirably continued, creating an enjoyably weird atmosphere), but there's not a great deal here to satisfy die-hard fans of either the zombie or musical genres. It's more of a bland meeting ground between the two, though it's enjoyable enough for being so.
As a zombie story, the play satisfies many B-movie gimmicks, from the nerdy professor to the over-confident hero, his tragic love interest and his nemesis, but although there are clearly moments of deliberate over-the-top camp acting, I fear that irony cannot take full credit for the quality of the performance as a whole. They do alright, but the lead guy is about two feet shorter and ten stone lighter than his feature film equivalent would be, and it's hard to take any leading lady seriously when she's wearing braces.
There were a couple of very nice touches to elevate this above a mere school production, most entertainingly the zombies entering from the back of the theatre and shuffling along the aisles at an early point, but there was really nothing to top this in the remainder of the show, and very little in the way of gore beyond blood capsules. Would a couple of limb props really have put them out?
But this is just my personal grievance/fetish, and to be honest I wouldn't have been truly satisfied unless one of the performers had torn off an unsuspecting child dancer's arm and drenched the crowd in blood, like that bit in 'the Addams Family' that traumatised me when I was five.