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‘Song of the Living Dead’ @ Dad’s Garage
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
THEATER REVIEW. Grade: B+
George wears a fanny-pack and oversize glasses, works at a novelty store called Party City and dreams of living happily ever after with his girlfriend, Judith. As a dancer, he Barney-hops with blissful innocence.
What could possibly stop George’s pursuit of love and kindness?
Zombies, that’s what. That and a hard-core vigilante named Harry, who bullies George as he competes with him for his old flame, Judith, and tries to defeat the invading army of brain-eating cadavers.
Welcome to “Song of the Living Dead,” Dad’s Garage’s perversely inspired musical send- up of the horror/doomsday/pulp film genre. With book and lyrics by Matt Horgan and Travis Sharp (“Lawrenceburg”), music by Atlanta composer Eric Frampton and special effects by “master of gore” Chris Brown, this world premiere is a sick, scabrous, sacrilegious orgy of raunchiness and poor taste that derives naughty comedic pleasure by gleefully and willfully offending the conservative milieu.
Directed by Kate Warner, “Song of the Living Dead” proves that Dad’s remains the city’s most vital incubator of frighteningly good nonsense. Most of the material is not appropriate for discussion in a family newspaper.
Just let it be said that Harry (Z Gillispie) and Reverend Seabrook (George Faughnan) are filthy specimens of humanity. Faughnan is a one-of-a-kind actor, physically unique and scary; his fire-and-brimstone-wielding preacher is especially funny when hiding from the zombies in trash cans, but exactly what does this homophobe have to hide? You’ll see.
Gillispie is also quite good as the overcompensating, sexually voracious (yeah, right) enforcer, hot on the trail of Judith (Erin Lorette). Gillispie can’t sing, but that’s not the point. (Harry will show you the point, baby.)
And Gabriel Dean, bless his pea-picking little heart, gives his best performance ever, as George. Watching his goofus character battle with his light and d-d-d-dark sides is pure comedic gold. Poor George — what a pathetic loser. Gillispie and Dean also get to engage in a funny subplot involving nerdy crime-fighters — gay lovers who sneak long wet kisses between martial-arts moves — and both reinvent themselves fully.
Are you starting to get the idea of how totally gonzo this all is?
Set designer Jamie Bullins’ sinister and efficient set is accentuated by Karen Parsons’ luxuriously murky lighting. Costumer Liz Faughnan puts the zombies in mountains of ripped up rags, then works in nifty surprises with leather and fishnet. Chris Bartelski’s sound design alternates between power-surge static and Bride of Frankenstein-style wooze.
Not for the screamish and absolutely forbidden for sissies, grandmas and Bible study groups, the show harks back to the days of “Carrie: The Musical” and “Bat Boy.” Memo to the New York International Fringe Festival: Sign ’em up now.
THE 411: 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays. 8 p.m. Monday. Through July 5. $10-$25. Dad’s Garage, 280 Elizabeth St., Inman Park. 404-523-3141, dadsgarage.com.
Bottom: Super sick. Funny, too.