BREAKING NEWS!!!   It’s 1958, and disastrous nuclear tests have created an ever-growing population of zombies in America!  Thankfully, a Zombie Peace Accord has been reached, and as long as we keep feeding them (BRAINS!!), they will behave and entertain the living at swanky nightclubs.  We now go live, to Club Z, for an exclusive report on the coolest and creepiest of these “dead-stravaganzas” - Zombie Burlesque!

Yes, the living dead have come to the Las Vegas Strip in a clever, ridiculous, and hugely entertaining burlesque revue from producer David Saxe and director/choreographer Tiger Martina, showcasing the talents of an exuberant cast of frisky flesh-eaters, backed by a kick-ass onstage band.

Taking my seat at the intimate V Theater in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Casino and Hotel, I didn’t know what to expect, but the show begins with a raucous opening credit sequence on an LED screen at the back of the stage.  Human characters are projected onscreen, with live zombie actors onstage, attacking and dismembering them in colorful ways.  Next, a March of Time-style newsreel explains how the Zombie/Human situation came to be, and finally, our decomposing compere, Zenoch (Enoch Augustus Scott), welcomes us to Club Z, and introduces the undead performers.  From that point forward, we get act after act of sexy, silly, even beautiful zombie talent!

Almost as soon as the action starts, it’s interrupted by a food delivery - a truck backs onstage and dumps a load of fresh prisoners.  Zombie Mikey (Patrick Leahy), a slightly dopey collegiate jock type, misses out on his share, but Zenoch points out one remaining body part - let’s just say it’s a tube steak.  Mikey protests, thinking the man-meat will turn him gay, but Zenoch reassures him with a cleverly re-written Sondheim song, which becomes an hilarious ode to homosexuality, complete with a rainbow flag graphic and rainbow-hued lighting.  

We meet Miss Lola Gangrene (Lora Kelsey) who gives us a classic strip tease to Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’  “I Put a Spell on You”, holding a disembodied hand, which removes her clothing for her.  Miss Carvin’ Miranda (Talia Marino) does a lovely aerial silks act, which must be especially challenging on the somewhat confined stage of the V Theater, but she pulls it off beautifully!  In a funny spoof of The Newlywed Game, a married couple from the audience is pitted against a zombie couple.  A frenetic dance by two diminutive puppet people includes a sick, but extremely funny homage to Marilyn Monroe’s iconic dress-blowing scene in The Seven Year Itch, and hilarious drag zombie Tiny Bubbles (Steve Daley), resplendent in a plus-size poodle skirt, support hose, and ’50’s flip hairdo, does an “unforgettable” magic trick with an audience member.

A short “intermission” brings a send-up of the Old Gold Cigarette TV ads of the 1950’s, but in this case, we have a box of lime Jell-o and a bottle of vodka tap dancing to the theme from The Blob.  And you can probably guess what this romantic union produces for the audience!

A surprisingly tender moment comes, as Elizabeth Terror (April Leopardi) and Deadi Arnaz (Antenor) dance a beautiful balletic pas de deux/strip tease to the Cranberries song “Zombie”, with gorgeous pointe work from Leopardi, and a simple, yet breathtaking special effect which demonstrates their love growing inside them.

Also showing off their considerable talents, are Sophia LaMorte (Sophia Monica) singing in a graveyard with her deceased beaus, and Latin zombie hunk Johnny Wife-Mauler (Jeffrey De Barathy), whose dancing skills and spectacular physique are displayed in a Zombies in Space number.  To be honest, I’m not quite sure what happened during this bit, as Jeffrey stripped down to a metal jockstrap, and I was somewhat distracted!

Other acts include a zombie pole dance on a carousel horse, a strip tease tribute to Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, with Lola Gangrene dancing around a miniaturized town, tearing the roofs off buildings and pulling out hapless Ken dolls, to the tune of Ida Maria’s “I Eat Boys Like You For Breakfast”, and if all this weren’t enough, Zombie Mikey’s transformative return at the end of the show, will have you howling!

The show’s finale starts as a calypso number, with the cast singing and dancing to Harry Belafonte’s “Jump In The Line”, but soon becomes a Zombie Revival featuring LaVerne Baker’s “Saved” (I used to smoke, drink and dance the Hootchie-koo...)  By the end of the show, all is well in the world of the walking dead, and the zombies bid us all a fond farewell, even posing for pictures on the way out!

Okay...let’s face it.  This is not sophisticated theater - it’s not Shakespeare or Ibsen!  Zombie Burlesque is a bit raunchy and features puerile, VERY lowbrow humor.  But it is a ton of fun, with great production values and a lot of talent.  At 75 minutes, the show flies by, and everyone onstage seems to be having a great time.  The strip numbers are risqué, but never vulgar, and the entire cast is pure eye candy.  So whether you’re male, female, gay, straight, or merely confused like Zombie Mikey, I guarantee you’ll find a hot zombie that’ your taste!