Sunday, May 4, 2014

theatre review THE PORNOZOMBIES, Nearly Naked Theatre, April 19

Stefan Jorgensen and Laura Anne Kenney
Click here to read my complete Talkin' Broadway review (highlights below) of The Pornozombies.

Let this serve as a warning: mad, sex-crazed zombies have taken up residence at the Hardes Little Theatre for a few weeks. Anyone afraid of a small dose of partial nudity mixed in with various and comic simulated zombie sex scenes and a decent share of profanity should stay away from the intersection of McDowell and Central until May 11th. But for those looking for a funny and frivolous spoof of both zombie movies and '70s soft-core porn films, you couldn't do much better than The Pornozombies, the latest "adult" live theatre endeavor from Nearly Naked Theatre.

Matt Casarino's play follows Detective Karla as she investigates a strange threat to the country—zombie porn. Evil scientist Dr. Hadfield has created a serum that reanimates the dead, bringing them back to life with a heightened sex drive. Hadfield documents the zombies' activity for science and distributes the videos to the local video store where they gain a large following. Karla makes it her mission to stop Hadfield and save the country. Though we're not quite sure that the country really wants to be saved.

With a humorous narrator as our guide, Casarino has crafted a fairly witty and satirical play, with some very funny lines and situations. He also mixes in several references to the cautionary tale movies of the 1940s and 1950s that served to warn society of natural threats to the country, like Reefer Madness, which warned of the evils of smoking pot. However, the play does drag just a bit with some unnecessary moments for a few of the secondary characters.

Fortunately, Director Damon Dering has found a cast more than willing to let their inhibitions go and their inner zombie and/or porn star out. Laura Anne Kenney does a nice job of showing us the determination Detective Karla has in stopping Hadfield, as well as her lack of good detective skills. She easily gets across Karla's no-nonsense attitude. While her rough detective accent comes and goes, she wrings plenty of laughs from her fairly straightforward dialogue. Doug Loynd, who also designed the costumes, is having a blast as Hadfield, easily portraying the disturbing side of this mad scientist as if it's completely natural and everyone else is crazy. Aaron Blanco, who was sullen and on the edge as the racist ballplayer Shane Mungitt in Nearly Naked's last show, Take Me Out, is showing his comic chops, giving a superb take on the Narrator of the piece. He is dapper in his dark suit and tie, with superb enunciation, and relishes his lines, especially his continual warnings to the audience.

While The Pornozombies isn't exactly a great play, it is a fun, humorous satire, with numerous laugh out loud moments and a cast more than game to bring the zany characters and situations to life. While this is an "adult" show, there is only one scene with simulated sexual activity, and it's the funniest moment in the show. The narrator gives plenty of warning before it happens, just in case anyone decides they can't take it and want to leave the theatre. I strongly urge you to stay.  

The Pornozombies runs through May 10, 2014, with performances at Phoenix Theatre's Hardes Little Theatre at 100 E. McDowell in Phoenix. Tickets can be purchased by calling (602) 254-2151 or at

Photo: Jordon Torne

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