When zombies usurped vampires as the undead du jour, it was only a matter of time before the demand for zombie hits reached critical mass.
V Theater Group, LLC
More silly than horrifying, these flesh-eating sexpots are (un)dying to please.
When zombies usurped vampires as the undead du jour, it was only a matter of time before the demand for zombie hits reached critical mass. Well, the wait is over, because that’s what Zenoch, the ghoulish master of ceremonies at “Club Z” (really a small, comfy theater in the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino) promises his audience.
Does he deliver? It’s not a strip show. It’s not even the topless Rockettes. As any true student of the “art of burlesque” (could there be a more pompous breed of pervert?) will explain to you, a true burlesque performance tells a story, evokes a mood. The salient detail is that the telling of the story usually involves the comedienne stripping mostly naked. Whatever mood is meant to be evoked, horniness is never far behind in the order of operation.
Now add zombie makeup. The resulting show, Zombie Burlesque at Planet Hollywood, is a blend of “Cabaret” and “Rocky Horror,” no more or less prurient (or NSFW) than that. The cast of four comely females and three strapping males (and Zenoch) sport blue-gray makeup and superficial flesh wounds, but the effect is more campy than nauseating. All the singing is real, and the music is played by a live orchestra, mostly in the ragtime style of burlesque’s heyday. Zenoch channels Joel Gray by way of Tim Curry as he vamps, prances, sings, and interacts with the crowd, questioning the sexuality of the male attendees and assuming the women are escorts. If you’re in the front row, bring your thick skin.
It’s all in good fun, though. Dressed in bustiers and bloomers, the zombie lady dancers whoop and holler it up, not shy about grabbing their ankles, miming sex acts, or swiveling their ribcages to the crowd’s delight. Even more so, they mug, vamp, and ooze charisma. Ironically, the dead eyes of the strip club are not to be found here. The average burlesque girl, even a zombie one, comes across as a personality-rich nerd who bloomed late and lives to flaunt.
If only the ladies got more lines. For better or worse, the weight of the comedy, the thin storyline, and most of the dialogue falls on two of the male actors. There’s Zenoch, in dressing gowns and dinner jackets, riffing with the audience and re-enacting the story of his zombification – he received fellatio from an undead vixen in a graveyard.
The oral sex puns only continue when the plight of male dancer Mikey is introduced. The newest member of the cast, he was only recently animated and doesn’t quite know how to be a zombie in polite society. A parody of the raging hormones of adolescence, Mikey can’t control his hunger for flesh and keeps trying to eat the band. As if that weren’t bad enough, he is confused about his sexuality. Does eating the penis of your disemboweled victim make you gay? Zenoch’s reassurance leads to the song “Eating Penis Doesn’t Make You Gay“, complete with a tasteless prop choreography involving a dildo the size of a teacup poodle. Later, during the requisite Carmen Miranda spoof, Mikey shows up in a short skirt, seashell bra, and a hat piled high with fruit. Even death can’t put to rest certain showbiz quandaries.
Verdict: Zombie Burlesque at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino’s, V Theater, is obviously not family-friendly, but adults who like raunch and rowdiness will appreciate the humor, artistry, sex appeal, and energy of a zany ensemble that knows they aren’t trying to stage “The Seagull.” The show is a lark, and the cast hams it up. If you’re still not sold, your ticket (which starts at $50) includes a complimentary Jell-O shot. Pretend it’s brains. Why not? It’s that kind of night.