Review: “The Revenants” (WildClaw Theatre)

WildClaw Theatre -The Revenants-20Show: The Revenants

Company: WildClaw Theatre

Venue: Athenaeum Theatre

Die Roll: 6

Good horror stories are never solely about vampires, ghosts, axe wielding maniacs or assorted beasties they feature. They’re about what extreme, and frightening situations can reveal about ourselves.

This is certainly the case with Scott T. Barsotti’s “The Revenants” which tells a small story broken off from the larger one that we have all come to know, “The Zombie Apocalypse”, that terrifying time when mindless corpses of dead human beings will rise to attack the living and destroy all in their path. “The Revenants” focuses on Gary (Josh Zagoren) and Karen (Elizabeth Birnkrant) two survivors of the aforementioned scenario hiding in a basement from their undead predators. They are not alone. Joe (Drew Johnson) Gary’s best friend and Karen’s husband, and Gary’s wife Molly (Krista D’Agostino) are with them. But they are both zombies. Gary and Karen are unable to kill their loved ones, or the monsters that one were their loved ones, so they have tied them up with rope.

Karen believes some spark of humanity remains within the zombies while Gary is skeptical.

Holed up with a gun and rations, and only each other (and the moaning undead husks of their spouses) for company, Gary and Karen gradually descend into paranoia, alcoholism, despair, lust and hate all while clinging to hope of a legitimate escape. While Birnkrant and Zagoren ground the show, Johnson and D’Agostino rise to the considerable acting challenge of creating their characters with almost no (human) dialogue. Director Brad Akin and the zombie performers do an excellent job of preserving ambiguity on the question of whether they are mindless brutes as Gary asserts or trapped, altered human beings, as Karen hopes. This is more a character driven drama with horror elements than a tale which provokes much actual fear, but that’s forgivable, because of its thoughtfulness and naturalistic, sympathetic performances.

TEN WORD SUMMARY: These two survivors of a zombie apocalypse struggle to cope.

RATING: d10 = “Worth Going To”